The dream began when I was looking for a job and was introduced to Bob Romanow, owner of Frugal Furniture in Roxbury. We met at the furniture store and I saw there was a section with books—all primarily by authors of color. I had never seen so many books by people of color in one place, and it just looked beautiful. It made me very proud. And as an avid reader I knew how important it is for all people to see themselves in the literature they read. Bob saw how smitten I was and he asked me to help him build a book business.
It became my mission to assist Mr. Romanow, and when he saw how dedicated I was, he offered to sell me the bookstore portion of his business. I shared the offer with Clarrissa and she was as excited as I was for the opportunity, so I accepted it. We decided to keep Frugal in the name simply because it was already known in the community, and why fix something that was not broken. And that’s how Clarrissa and I became owners of the Frugal Bookstore.
Our family, friends and supporters have watched us thrive over the years, and they’ve seen that it is very possible to own a business in the community you grow up in. And not just any business—one that offers value, a business where you can come in and you light up and feel proud that it is in Roxbury, our community.
We are the only bookstore in Roxbury, and the only black-owned bookstore in the city of Boston, we are one of a kind. It was built with a passion and infused with a desire to “Change Minds One Book at a Time.” It is a community space that has inspired many readers, and has hosted a number of events which include book signings with local authors and many from out of state. It is home to The Family Affair Book Club and The Cool Girlz Book Club.
In 2018, we received an invitation to partner with the Boston Book Festival to help bring the biggest literary festival in New England to our neighborhood, Roxbury. It was thrilling to see our community come out and support the effort. And in 2019 we were bestowed the honor of Business of the Year by Dudley Main Streets and the City of Boston.
We were having such a great time and then all of a sudden the pandemic hit and put us in a position where we are struggling to maintain the business needed to keep us going until society opens back up and the community is allowed to come back in. We really need help!
We could use your support in other ways like
Placing orders on our
By phone: [phone redacted]
Via email: [email redacted]
Thank you for helping us in any way you can.
Be healthy and stay safe,
Clarrissa and Leonard
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