Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Black Business News

Small Business: Buying Her Own Bookstore Fulfilled A Lifelong Dream

Tikesha Williams fulfilled her lifelong dream by buying Paperback, Ink – All Booked up, a four-decade-old bookstore in Newport News. Williams’ business is thriving, and she is proud to be one of seven African American-owned bookstores in Virginia. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams’ commitment to promoting reading in her community has not wavered.

By Leonard E. Colvin
Chief Reporter
New Journal and Guide

As a child Tikesha Williams found the library near her family home in Petersburg to be not only a place to read and meet friends but a safe refuge.

In high school, her first after-school job was at the Virginia Avenue School Library.

“I recall the librarian there reinforced in me the importance of reading,” she said. “I knew early I wanted to work at a library or own a bookstore of my own.”

In 2019, just before COVID hit, Williams started selling books online.

The COVID pandemic sharpened her ability to sell books since many public libraries and bookstores were closed or restricted how people moved about in either.

Sometime early last year, an acquaintance called and informed Williams that a bookstore in Newport News was for sale.

Last November, Williams’ lifelong dream came true. She sealed the deal to buy the four-decades-old “Paperback, Ink – All Booked up” bookstore at 9716 Warwick Boulevard in Newport News.

Since then, Williams has applied a few coats of paint, added more shelves, a coffee shop, and even a number of new and used titles in the storefront outlet.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Williams, who is also an insurance adjuster, commutes for 1.5 hours between Petersburg and Newport News.

Her husband and children still live in Petersburg as she shares a house in Newport News.

“That hour-and-a-half commute gives me time to think, plan my days and collect my thoughts,” she said. “This has been a huge investment. But I am now working for myself in my bookstore.”

Williams said that business is good. She has a staff of seven who help her keep things going. People of varying ages and races patronize the place, browsing for new and old titles to read or they sit and enjoy a nice free cup of coffee.

“A lot of people don’t know we are here yet,” she said. “So, I have to do a little more marketing. But when they do come in, they are amazed that it’s so bright and new.”

“There are a lot of elderly and retired people who come in just to get out of the house,” she said.   “There are even a lot of young people. They like our prices; they can get three used books for $20. Seniors get discounts, too; so, we are affordable.”

There are 127 Black-owned bookstores in the United States, according to a recent census by the website “Oprah Daily.”

Williams, 48, now owns one of seven African-American-owned bookstores in Virginia, according to the website of her Paperback, Ink in Newport News. There are two in Virginia Beach, one in Norfolk, and Chesapeake.

With Black authors penning more books with varied themes, the idea of bookstores going the way of Radio Shack or Sears Mega stores may be a myth, Williams said.

Also, the idea that African-Americans are not readers is bogus, she said.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“Black people do read,” said Williams. “This is one stigma which is ceasing with Black people.”

Williams held the official ribbon-cutting for her Warwick Boulevard site recently and it was well attended.

Please follow and like us:
Written By

NJG 2023 Calendar

Purchase Through Paypal

You may find these interesting

Hampton Roads Community News

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide   Norfolk Councilperson Andria McClellan hopes the voters of Norfolk will help her add...

Hampton Roads Community News

By Leonard E. Colvin Chief Reporter New Journal and Guide Thanks to the redistricting which created the new Senate District 21, Norfolk Democrats have...

Hampton Roads Community News

By Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent @StacyBrownMedia A class-action lawsuit accusing the state of Florida of discriminating against a historically Black...

Book Reviews

In this article, Stacy M. Brown discusses the new children's book titled "I Love My Daddy" by Juanita Banks Whittington, which challenges the myth...

%d bloggers like this: