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Meet Lorielle J. Hollaway

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lorielle J. Hollaway.

Lorielle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Like many, I mourned after the delivery of the verdict for the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman trial. That trial and the subsequent high profile killings of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown inspired me to do something, anything to make people see us! I got involved, sitting in on city council meetings and even joining few protests. Then, one day, it just clicked; children! Children are taught to love, taught to be empathetic, taught to have compassion. My form of activism became the bookstore, to first foster a love of self by showing positive images and sharing great stories about people of color. To show our children our stories don’t begin with struggle and second, to broaden world views.

We host storytimes, book clubs, and even community events. Our most recent, Kids Lit!: Poetry in the Gardens, we explored social justice through poetry.

Our goal is to foster a reading culture within the black community through the curation of great books, engaging book clubs, and community events that inspire.

You can find us Sunday’s located within The Well, a healing space on Historic 22nd St. S.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For the most part, yes! Before opening Cultured Books, I enrolled in two awesome programs St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurial Academy and Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation C.A.T.C.H Program. Both of these programs were entrepreneurial intensives with the purpose of making sure that your business not only begins but thrives.

What should we know about Cultured Books? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Cultured Books is a children’s bookstore that specializes in international children’s literature.

We’re most proud to have the opportunity to connect little readers with books that inspire and uplift.

Is there a specific memory from when you were younger that you really miss?
One of my fondest memories growing up was the bookstore adventures my dad would take my siblings and me on. We’d start the day early, Toys R’ Us for the latest Hot Wheels release, then Barnes & Noble; flipping through magazines or lost somewhere in the children’s section, and if we had time, you could find us at Borders shopping for CD’s.

I have some great memories involving books! My hope is for Cultured Books to create some great memories as well. I want Cultured Books to be St. Pete’s literary haven where families come to discover new worlds, learn about different cultures and find great children’s literature.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Nina Grace, Grace Studio

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