Culture

Kentucky’s Only Black-Owned Bookstore Struggles To Stay Open

By Danielle Dorsey

Share

Wild Fig Books and Coffee has a jam-packed schedule of weekly workshops, monthly comedy shows, and movie screenings that co-founder April Taylor is optimistic will help the struggling co-op survive the summer. It hasn’t been easy for Kentucky’s only Black-owned bookstore, which has transferred ownership several times since its first iteration closed in 2015. 

Located in the “horse capital” of Lexington, Wild Fig was reopened in a different location by then-owners Crystal Wilkinson and Ronald Davis, but financial troubles forced them to close their doors in 2018. Loyal customers of the bookstore purchased it for $25,000 and transitioned it to a worker cooperative with stakeholders. Wild Fig remains at its second location on North Limestone, but Taylor plans to relocate to a larger space that can accommodate expanded programming.

In order for Taylor to realize this vision, she’ll need to increase Wild Fig’s foot traffic and profit so that the co-op can broker a deal involving delayed loan payments. This month the store was given seven days notice to pay its balance or face eviction. On Tuesday, with less than eight hours until their deadline, Wild Fig was able to come up with the necessary funds thanks to a matching donation from The Highland Center in Tennessee. The last-minute Hail Mary gave the co-op the confidence they needed to keep pursuing their goals. 

Taylor is hoping to prove the bookstore’s lasting potential with a stacked event calendar that includes a celebration of life event in honor of Toni Morrison on Sunday, August 18th, and an unplugged music concert on Friday, August 23. Wild Fig also hosts weekly self-discovery workshops and will be hosting a teen writing workshop beginning in September. 

Co-op members are doing their best to remain hopeful, with many volunteering their time to help keep Wild Fig’s doors open. 

In an interview with the Lexington Herald-Leader, Taylor said, “I would encourage (people to visit) sooner rather than later. We’re at a critical juncture where, if people don’t go ahead and come in if they’re more in love with the idea of our existence than actually supporting us, we may not be able to go on and still be here.”


If you’re not local to Kentucky, you can support Wild Fig by donating to their Patreon here.

Share
Travel Noire

Danielle Dorsey

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Travelers Sue Creator Of Black Yacht Week Over Fyre-Fest Like Experience

Travelers Sue Creator Of Black Yacht Week Over Fyre-Fest Like Experience

If you are an avid Black traveler, you have likely heard of the Facebook group Black Travel Movement. The group, created to share the Black travel experience through personal photos, also hosts large group trips around the world. The founder of the group, Reginald “Reggie” Cummings, made the announcement early last year that he would […]

DeAnna Taylor

Meet The Woman Behind The Whiskey Brand Honoring The Slave Who Helped Jack Daniels

Meet The Woman Behind The Whiskey Brand Honoring The Slave Who Helped Jack Daniels

The world is finally coming to know the man that is Nathan “Nearest” Green and it’s about time that they did. If you aren’t familiar with who he is, he is the slave who is credited for helping Jack Daniels learn the art of whiskey making. Uncle Nearest, as he was known, is the first […]

DeAnna Taylor

Meet the Women Behind Detroit’s First Black-Owned Beauty And Education Hub

Meet the Women Behind Detroit’s First Black-Owned Beauty And Education Hub

There’s nothing like going into a beauty supply store and finding the perfect products. What makes your experience even better is having people on staff that look like you and can properly educate you on what it is that you are purchasing. That was the inspiration behind Detroit’s first Black-owned and woman-owned beauty and education […]

DeAnna Taylor