Books in the City!: We Are LIT Opens Physical Bookshop Downtown Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 21, 2020—Multicultural bookshop We Are LIT is excited to announce it has brought its bookselling operation offline and into the community by opening a physical location at 87 Monroe Center inside the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA).
We Are LIT launched in 2017 as an eCommerce bookshop selling new, multicultural books across all genres. The following year it expanded its platform by hosting recurring pop-ups inside the City’s best venues for art, culture, and entertainment. The bookshop currently services readers nationwide across 39 states.
We Are LIT owner, Kendra McNeil (Photo Credit: Doug Sims Photography)
“We Are LIT turned three this month, and it is exciting to celebrate its growth by opening of a physical bookshop,” said founder and curator Kendra McNeil. “A bookshop cannot survive without the support of its local community, and our expansion would not be possible without all who have supported We Are LIT in its mission to create a culture around books in West Michigan,” McNeil said. “Whether through sales, connections to resources, or providing space to pop-up,” she continued, “The ongoing support from patrons near and afar – plus, relationships with organizations, educators, and community leaders such as George Bayard, has created opportunities for the bookshop to grow.”
GRAAMA's Executive Director, George Bayard (Photo Credit: Kendra McNeil)
Through his work around art, culture, and community activism, the Museum’s founder and executive director, George Bayard, is committed to spotlighting historical contributions and memorabilia from local African Americans.
“The goal of GRAAMA has always been to uplift and educate the community,” said Bayard. “We Are LIT helps us expand this goal by exposing more patrons to the Museum while supporting another local Black-owned business.” “The bookshop is a welcome addition to GRAAMA,” he continued, “And as it looks ahead to expanding next year, we hope We Are LIT will join us.”
Likewise, “Besides the ability to collaborate and feature Grand Rapids commerce such as We Are LIT,” said GRAAMA’s board director, Michael Curtis, “From an educational perspective, reading and writing are essential building blocks.” “GRAAMA is an advocate for all literature,” Curtis continued, “Especially the selections offered through McNeil’s bookshop.”
The opening of We Are LIT on Monroe Center will mark the first time Downtown Grand Rapids has had a general bookshop since Schuler Books and Music closed its 7,000 square foot shop on Fountain St. eight years ago. While We Are LIT will be a smaller operation, it plans to feature the highly curated collections it has become known for, such as its popular Children’s LIT collection.
The bookshop is officially open for business; however, in light of recent State of Michigan orders restricting indoor gatherings due to the resurgence of COVID-19, its Grand Opening event will take place at a later date.
Photos courtesy Doug Sims Photography