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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Showcasing of Ypsilanti Business: Blackstone Bookstore & Cultural Center

Photo Credit
Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Culture

By Contributing Writer:
Nuri Flowers 

"Wise person once said, “When you want to be educated, read a book. ‘When one yearns to teach education, one must teach from what they have read”. 


Such words are epitomized by the good deeds of two independent owners of the Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Center, which advertises more than just knowledge and education through black literature, but also portrays every essence of black diaspora through their merchandise, from the incense, to hand-carved wooden canes, portraits of some of the most influential black leaders who helped shape the impact of Black history and much more.

Located on 214 West Michigan Ave in downtown Ypsilanti, Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Center, which opened for business last month on November 2, 2013, has opened up to Washtenaw County to cater to the young and elderly, men and women, college-educated and non-educate, of all colors.

Photo Credit - Nuri Flowers
One of the Owners of Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Culture

Blackstone is owned by two independent owners, whom are both Ypsilanti natives; Mr. Kip Johnson, who is the manager over the bookstore and program management, and Carlos Franklin, who is the proprietor of the merchandise of the cultural provided in the store.

During an in-store interview held December 20, 2013 at 12:15 PM, Franklin was asked by IUNEWS Talk writer Nuri Flowers about who he was to know more about his background for the public to know. Franklin started off by stating:
‘I’m just a simple man with a simple dream; and that is to be a business man.” As the interviewed continued on Flowers inquired more to what kind of businessman Mr. Franklin is. Upon doing so, it was soon discovered that Franklin had started his bookstore business in the hope of sharing his dream with other whom had the same dreams and aspirations to sell books and novelty items to customers who appreciate culture. 
Outside of managing the bookstore, Franklin is a full time Realtor for Keller Williams Real Estate,
Photo Credit -Nuri Flowers
Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Culture
located in the Ann Arbor Market Center on 2144 S. State St. Franklin’s educational background can be what some say would be phenomenal to many perspectives, being that Franklin was a high school dropout from Willow Run High School, and received his G.E.D. in 1991 a few years following after he dropped out. Even as he made such decisions, Franklin has made wise economic decisions on how to make an honest hustle to make ends meet in his early years.
‘See where I came from cats was selling drugs, sex or anything else to make ends meet. When I dropped out I found other ways to make an honest buck. I was selling books from the trunk of my car before I met with Kip to open up the bookstore,' Franklin said. 'I sold all types of books, from poetry, memoirs, fictional novels, etc. I was in the business of hustling education to people on the streets, because it doesn’t take a diploma or a college degree to make somebody start a business.’
When Franklin was asked had he ever thought or attempted to take college courses to get a higher degree for future he responded:
‘Yeah I have thought about going back to school, but why would I when I’m already know exactly what it is I want to do.’ Franklin encourages anyone with the mindset to start their own business should start early and not hesitate; believing anybody has the ability to start a business, but need to put in the work for it to make it possible nonetheless. 
‘I’m not in the business of selling mis-education, especially to my own people at that.’ Franklin is a businessman with an instilled belief that education is important, but no degree or diploma that someone earns measure up to the natural gift that Divine intervention gives to humans. He believes that knowledge is a gift from God and it’s something that we all can easily learn from using our minds, it’s not depending on other’s suggestions to be successful.'
‘A lot of people don’t realize that from birth, you’re already born a winner.’ 
Franklin continued adding to this comment that he knew what he wanted to start u his business, and that was to sell what he knew all his life, and that was books.

Photo Credit - Nuri Flowers
Blackstone Bookstore and Cultural Culture
Franklin said what started as a chore in his elementary school reading copious amounts of novels, turned out to be his greatest tool to success. 20 years later down the road, Franklin and Johnson turned their respective dreams into a business starting from the bottom, and encourage fellow patrons from Ypsi to Detroit, and all across the whole United States to come out and visit the bookstore and take a piece of history with them as they walk out from the store.

Franklin promises that patrons who will come into the store will find all types of books related to the African-American culture and African culture, religion, urban fiction, and much more. The backroom of the store also has a study center in the back for college students or individuals to play chess. The bookstore also sells movies, herbal oils, CDs and art.

To learn more about the Blackstone Bookstore, stop by and visit the store address at 214 W. Michigan Avenue, and also follow the CEOs on Facebook.



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