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Dudley Square’s Frugal Bookstore Reminds Us Why We Celebrate Independent Bookstores

On Saturday, April 27, Independent Bookstore Day (IBD) will mark its fifth year celebrating America’s independently-owned bookstores. As stated on the IBD website, “independent bookstores are not just stores, they’re community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers.” In addition to galvanizing ICIC’s alumni and friends around supporting their local independent bookstores, we thought it would be the right time to recognize our own: Frugal Bookstore, located directly across the street from the ICIC office.

Leonard Egerton and Clarrissa Cropper founded Frugal Bookstore because they believed in the impact it could have on the economic and cultural life of Dudley Square, one of Boston’s distressed neighborhoods. Clarrissa participated in the Boston cohort of our Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) program last year and said, “my experience was eye-opening and informative. Going through the process [of ICCC], specifically the web series and conference, helped me to see questions that I didn’t even know I needed.”

Their bookstore has survived in a neighborhood of vacant and ever-changing storefronts because they developed a mutually supportive relationship with the Dudley Square community. They’re driven to make the business work because they believe in its mission – to promote literacy among local children, teens and adults by providing affordable books. As a result, the neighborhood has rallied behind them – from parents to teachers and members of the school committee.

We share their story because it serves as an important reminder that one’s passion can, albeit with hard work, become a tool for inclusive growth in their own community. We believe in the work that Leonard and Clarrissa are doing, and we plan to celebrate them and the other nearly 2500 independent bookstores across the nation on Saturday, April 27.

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