This New Philly Bookstore Is The Literal Definition Of Black Girl Magic
By DeAnna Taylor
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. For longtime Philadelphia resident, Jeannine Cook, owning a bookstore was something she’s always wanted to do.
Initially, she found her dream space and signed on the dotted line, then the unthinkable happened. The building burned down. Unphased, Jeannine stayed the course in pursuing this venture all while teaching at a local alternative school.
At the beginning of this month, she launched the soft opening of Harriet’s Bookshop on Girard Avenue (258 E Girard Ave.), in Philly’s Fishtown. The store will officially open on February 1.
The name for the shop was inspired by Jeannine’s love and obsession with pioneer, Harriet Tubman. The goal is to focus a lot of the store’s inventory on Tubman as well as other inspirational women. Many of the books that Jeannine plans to sell will be those written by or for women.
Each month, she will feature a local woman artist’s work in her window display as well as host various community events in the space.
Some were hesitant of a store like this opening in this neighborhood, which has begun to see the effects of gentrification. But, within two weeks of her soft opening, half of the store’s stock was sold.
“One of my mentors was just like, ‘Girl, you are so crazy. You know you can’t open a bookshop in Fishtown. You’re Black,’” Cook said in an interview with Billy Penn. “And I was like, ‘You know who else been told that? Harriett Tubman.’”
When you walk into the shop you will instantly meet the smell of frankincense, which was personally selected by Jeannine as a way to create a healing environment for those who stop by. She describes the space as “if Black girl magic were a bookshop.”
“Throughout the whole process of opening, I kept thinking, ‘What could I give people that wouldn’t cost a lot but would potentially have a positive effect on their lives?’” Jeannine said in an interview with Philly Mag. “Even if they decide not to buy a book, they get the frankincense, and they remember that they can come back to this space for that vibe.”
To learn more about this amazing space, you can follow the Instagram page: @harrietts_bookshop.
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.