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North Texas Black

Sep 20, 2023

Nia-Tayler Clark’s Farmers Branch bookstore went from an eviction notice on the door to a thriving business.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” Clark said. “People were calling me and asking me was the store open? I was telling them that it was, but that’s how I found out we had been locked out and there was an eviction notice on the door.”

The former Dallas ISD high school teacher has made it her mission to show representation in literature and provide access to that representation. That mission started with her students when she was in the classroom.

“I just wanted them to know that there were good authors who looked like them. People they didn’t even know about,” Clark said.

That evolved into a subscription box business called BlackLit. A subscription box that was featured by cable television network BET, Forbes Magazine and even Oprah! While it sounds like a blessing, it ended up being her demise.

“I just couldn’t’ keep up with the number of orders I was getting. I was literally doing it out of my house and then out of a warehouse. Then I opened the brick and mortar, but I just couldn’t keep up. We were so far behind on the rent and then they put an eviction notice on the door,” Clark said.

She said she posted about the experience on social media and before she knew it, it had spread through the community. The kindness of strangers saving her business and restoring her faith in humanity.

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“In less than 24 hours of that post, the community came together and raised $20,000. Then, by the following Friday, that was up to $27,000, which is what we need to get caught up on the rent and it was like, wow, the power of community,” Clark said.

Clark uses BlackLit not just as a business, but also a place for the community to gather. A place for story times, meeting places, local businesses, and the like. All coming together in a place she dreamed up and that was saved by the community she wanted to serve.