MINNEAPOLIS — Downtown Minneapolis has a new bookstore and it's not your chain Barnes and Noble. Rather, Strive Bookstore is independently owned and many of the books are written by underrepresented authors from the metro.
Years before owner Mary Taris would host a grand opening ribbon cutting alongside Mayor Jacob Frey and Minneapolis Downtown Council director Shannon Fitzgerald, she founded Strive Publishing.
"I started out as an independent publisher and I understand the obstacles and barriers involved in getting your books into bookstores or even into distribution," Taris said.
Taris grew up in north Minneapolis. She now aims to uplift fellow independent publishers and authors by selling their books at her new store.
Many of them attended the grand opening Friday, including Dr. Artika Tyner of Planting People Growing Justice, whose entire book collection is now available at Strive Bookstore.
"It means all of a sudden someone can walk into a book store and take a journey throughout Black history, which is American history, and fill in the gaps that may be missing from their own education," said Tyner, who grew up in St. Paul's historic Rondo neighborhood. "Books open the invitation and the conversation and challenge us to change the world."
Many of the books sold are considered diverse or culturally relevant literature.
"I always dreamed of being a teacher," Taris said. "I didn't know I could be though because I never really saw myself represented in books or in education so I finally started teaching when I was 40 and that was a shocker to get into teaching and then to see there was still that gap in children's books where our children, they didn't want to read because they didn't see themselves represented in the books."
Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, they'll regularly host author visits and book club meetings. Memberships are also available. Strive Bookstore is located within the Young Quinlan building on 9th Street and Nicollet across from the downtown Target store.
Taris also owns a smaller version of the store in the Sistah Co-op on the skyway level of the IDS Center.
"Just come in and enjoy a sense of community and a sense of literary joy," Taris said.
This month, Strive Bookstore is hosting an exhibit on loan from the Kentucky Derby Museum. "Black Heritage in Horse Racing" highlights that more than half of the first 28 Derby winners were ridden by Black jockeys.