One of the largest independent black-owned bookstores is closing its doors after serving the Harlem community for 10 years. Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe is going out of business at the end of July due to rising rent and changes in the publishing industry, according to CEO and co-owner Marva Allen.
“Our lease is up. Our rent was going to go up. There is absolutely no question about it,” Allen said. “The rate at which our rent would go up, our bookstore could not absorb that in new sales to be able to pay that.”
Allen says the publishing industry has also changed because of technology and will require the creation of a new model and customer experience.
This niche market bookstore is known for featuring African-American authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Nikki Giovanni. For many of Hue-Man’s customers it is more than just a bookstore, it is a community. One that they all will miss being a part of.
Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe’s final farewell is on July 31st and will feature the cast of the Broadway musical Fela. Hue-Man joins the increasing list of the hundreds of other black-owned and independent bookstores that have closed over the past few years.