Bookstore owners say gentrification is to blame for their store closing

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Wild Fig Books and Coffee, a bookstore on North Limestone, is shutting its doors by the end of the month. It's the only African-American owned bookstore in Kentucky, and the owners think gentrification is to blame for the closing.

Wild Fig Books and Coffee is the only African-American owned bookstore in Kentucky, and the owners think gentrification is to blame for the closing.

Wild Fig Books and Coffee has a fan base.

"Books that you're usually not gonna find at other stores, which is why I like the place," says customer Shannon Greer.

"This is more than just a bookstore," says Wild Fig Books owner-worker Sarah Williams.

But at the end of the month, the store is closing its doors for good. Williams says gentrification is to blame.

"Gentrification is new-age colonialism," Williams says. "Ultimately, I think that we were place holders, they just weren't honest about that."

Williams says up until a few weeks ago, the store-owners had the option to buy the building. Then out of the blue, they were told to pack up.

"I do feel like they've got plans for the building. There's a reason why you wouldn't sell us the building when that was actually a part of the original offer to the community."

For Williams, this closing couldn't come at a worse time.

"Business stands right now to be the most profitable it's ever been," Williams says.

Williams started the business to create a safe space for the entire community.

"It has been very upsetting largely because of the community members that will not be able to access the space," Williams says.

Owners of the store say the future of the business isn't certain, but they're doing anything they can to keep it afloat.

"We have a couple of offers for re-location," Williams says.

Hopefully keeping the same welcoming atmosphere for years to come, even if it is in a different spot of town.

Wild Fig Books and Coffee is a worker cooperative, meaning it is owned and managed by its workers.



 
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