Hue-Man closes its doors
Hue-Man cierra sus puertas

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Hue-Man closes its doors

Story and photos by Sherry Mazzocchi

Video by Sherry Mazzocchi

Marva Allen, proprietor of Hue-Man Bookstore and Café in Harlem, just announced that the store would close. “The industry is going through a tumultuous time,” said Allen.

Marva Allen, proprietor of Hue-Man Bookstore and Café in Harlem, just announced that the store would close. “The industry is going through a tumultuous time,” said Allen.

It was a sad week for uptown bookstores.

On the same day that Washington Heights’ Word Up received a termination notice from their landlord, Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore and Café announced they would close after a decade in business.

The news made national headlines.

Patrons begged the store’s CEO, Marva Allen, not to close.

Customers called, emailed and tweeted to keep the store open.

“I had no idea of the outpouring of love that we would receive,” Allen said.

The physical store will close, but Allen said Hue-Man will shift into a new type of business that includes pop-up events in Harlem, as well as other cities and countries.

The store will have its first pop-up event on Sept. 6th at the Kalahari Cultural Center on Fifth Ave. and 116th St. with Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade. She is also planning on doing more events in the Caribbean and Ghana.

Allen said she always had an unwavering vision of what her store could be, but a harsh economic reality intruded.

“The industry is going through a tumultuous time,” she said, “and we don’t know where it’s going to land.”

Located on Fredrick Douglass Blvd. and 125th St., Hue-Man is a Harlem cultural institution.

Allen said she had been touched by the response from customers all across the country. “I had no idea of the outpouring of love that we would receive,” Allen said.

Allen said she had been touched by the response from customers all across the country. “I had no idea of the outpouring of love that we would receive,” Allen said.

Celebrities, athletes, statesmen and Nobel Prize-winning authors made sure Hue-Man was a stop their publicity tour. Over the years, people such as Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Damon Wayans, Toni Morrison, Bill Clinton, Derrick Bell and Rodney King all have given readings there.

Joarvonia Skipwith, a former publishing executive and patron, said the bookstore made authors of color accessible to the community, and impacted the publishing industry as well.

“The publishing industry has increased their program to make titles available to stores like Hue-Man,” she said.

The industry, however, is in the midst of a tectonic shift.

Before deciding whether or not to renew her lease, Allen drew up two lists: ‘why stay open’ and ‘why close’.

“My why close list was longer,” she said.

A physical bookstore, she decided, wouldn’t be able to survive an era where people increasingly order books online and download them to devices.

“It is extremely difficult to run a bookstore in this economy,” said L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, a professor of Sociology and Black Studies at City College.

A patron of the store since it opened, he said its presence is significant.

“There were so many different options and offerings. You could expose a student to Frederick Douglass or books on Hip Hop. Hue-Man was a space that had both,” he said.

The bookstore, open for nearly a decade, has long served as a cultural destination for readers, writers, and playwrights.

The bookstore, open for nearly a decade, has long served as a cultural destination for readers, writers, and playwrights.

The closing means more than just a loss of physical space. “Sometimes it’s the interaction between people around books that matters,” he said.

“Even though it was the hardest decision I ever made,” Allen said, “I think we can serve them better in the long run by being able to move into a newer model.”

While patrons are hoping Allen is right, they say they’ll still hanker for the book store on Frederick Douglass Blvd. that served them so well.

“This is a wonderful store,” said Skipwith, “I‘ll miss it.”

To hear from Marva Allen on the “hardest decision” she’s ever made, and others speak about their experience with Hue-Man, please visit http://bit.ly/MT_44.

 

Hue-Man cierra sus puertas

Historia y fotos por Sherry Mazzocchi

Video por Sherry Mazzocchi

The bookstore, open for nearly a decade, has long served as a cultural destination for readers, writers, and playwrights.

La librería, abierta por casi una década, siempre ha servido como destino cultural para lectores, escritores y escritos.

Fue una semana triste para las librerías en el Alto Manhattan.

El mismo día que ‘Washington Heights Word Up’ recibió una notificación de terminación del dueño, ‘Harlem’s Hue-Man Bookstore and Café’ anunció que cerraría luego de una década en el negocio.

Las noticias llegaron a los titulares nacionales.

Los clientes le rogaron al CEO de la tienda, Marva Allen, que no cerrara.

Los clientes llamaron, enviaron correos electrónicos y utilizaron ‘Tweeter’ para mantener la tienda abierta.

“No tenía ni idea del torrente de amor que recibiríamos”, dijo Allen.

La tienda cerrará físicamente, pero Allen dijo que Hue-Man cambiará a un nuevo tipo de negocio que incluye eventos en Harlem, como también otras ciudades y países.

La tienda tendrá su primer evento el 6 de septiembre en el Centro Cultural Kalahari en la Quinta Avenida y la Calle 116 con la estrella del baloncesto de los Miami Heat, Dwyane Wade. También está planificando en hacer más eventos en el Caribe y en Ghana.

Marva Allen, proprietor of Hue-Man Bookstore and Café in Harlem, just announced that the store would close. “The industry is going through a tumultuous time,” said Allen.

Marva Allen, propietaria de la Librería Hue-Man y Café en Harlem, acaba de anunciar que la tienda cerrará. “La industria está atravesando un tiempo malo”, dijo Allen.

Allen dijo que siempre tuvo una firme visión de lo que sería su tienda, pero existe una áspera realidad económica.

“La industria está pasando a través de tiempos difíciles”, dijo ella, “y no sabemos a donde va a llegar”.

Localizada en el Boulevard Fredrick Douglass y la Calle 125, Hue-Man es una institución cultural de Harlem. Celebridades, atletas, hombres de política y autores ganadores del premio Nobel se aseguraban de que Hue-Man fuera una parada en su viaje de publicidad. Durante los años, personas tales como Harry Belafonte, Bill Cosby, Damon Wayans, Toni Morrison, Bill Clinton, Derrick Bell y Rodney King todos han dado lecturas en el lugar.

Joarvonia Skipwith, antigua ejecutiva de publicidad y clienta, dijo que la librería hacia a los autores accesibles a la comunidad y también afectó la industria de la editorial. “La industria editorial ha aumentado su programa para hacer títulos disponibles a tiendas como Hue-Man”, dijo ella.

Sin embargo, la industria está en el medio de un cambio tectónico.

Antes de decidir si renovar o no su contrato, Allen preparo dos listas: ‘porque permanecer abierto’ y ‘porque cerrar’.

“Mi lista de cerrar era más larga”, dijo ella.

Una tienda, decidió ella, no sería capaz de sobrevivir una era donde las personas ordenan libros ‘online’ y los bajan de aparatos electrónicos.

“Es extremadamente difícil manejar una librería en esta economía”, dijo L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy, profesor de sociología y estudios negros en el Colegio de la Ciudad.

Cliente de la tienda desde que abrió, dijo que su presencia es significativa.

Allen said she had been touched by the response from customers all across the country. “I had no idea of the outpouring of love that we would receive,” Allen said.

Allen dijo que había sido tocada por la respuesta de los clientes de todo el país. “No tenía ni idea del torrente de amor que recibimos”, dijo Allen.

“Había tantas opciones y ofrecimientos. Podías exponer a un estudiante a Frederick Douglass o libros de Hip-Hop. Hue-Man era un espacio que para ambos”, dijo. El cierre significa algo más que la pérdida de un espacio físico. “Algunas veces es la interacción entre las personas alrededor de los libros lo que importa”, dijo el.

“Aunque fue la decisión más fuerte que he tenido que hacer”, dijo Allen. “Pienso que a largo plazo podemos serviles mejor siendo capaces de movernos a un nuevo modelo”.

Mientras que los clientes esperan que Allen esté en lo correcto, dicen que todavía añoran la librería en el Boulevard Frederick Douglass, entre las Calles 124 y 125, que los sirvió tan bien.

“Esto es una tienda maravillosa”, dijo Skipwith, “La extrañaré”.

Para saber más acerca de Marva Allen en la “decisión más difícil” que haya tenido que tomar, y otros hablando acerca de su experiencia en Hue-Man, favor de visitar http://bit.ly/MT_44.