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Popular black-owned bookstore announces plans to open second local location

MahoganyBooks' owners say they will open a second location at National Harbor on June 19.

OXON HILL, Md. — A popular black-owned bookstore plans to expand its footprint in the D.C. region.

MahoganyBooks announced on Wednesday plans to open a second location at National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

The business, which specializes in selling bestselling and classic African-American books, first opened an online store in 2007. In 2017, Mahogany Books then went on to open a brick-and-mortar location in the Anacostia Arts Center in Southeast D.C.

The bookstore also recently made headlines when former President Barack Obama paid a surprise visit to one of its virtual book discussions with the Very Smart Brothas Book Club.

RELATED: Former President Barack Obama surprises members of local DC book club

Ramunda and Derrick Young own MahoganyBooks along with their daughter Mahogany. 

The family said they had been planning to open a location in National Harbor for two years. However, Derrick Young said the pandemic forced them to temporarily pause the project.

“So, to see us get to this point where we could actually sign the lease and make the announcement, it definitely feels good,” he said.

Ramunda Young said MahoganyBooks was well-positioned to handle the pandemic because of the business’ history in the digital space.

“We started online first and so to have ten years of online operation, shipping books nationwide to people, it allowed us when we got to the pandemic to really not have to change anything at all,” she said.

MahoganyBooks’ newest location sits on American Way in the heart of National Harbor. It is bigger than MahoganyBooks’ location in Anacostia too.

The Youngs say the extra space can be used to display art, premier movies, or hold book discussions.

“Having an even bigger space at National Harbor gives us that ability to be more creative,” said Derrick Young.

The Youngs add that their National Harbor store will also have space for another black-owned business to operate. They say they have entered into a partnership with Jirani Coffeehouse to sell its coffee at the National Harbor location.

MahoganyBooks’ newest store is slated to open June 19. That day, also known as the holiday “Juneteenth”, commemorates the day when slaves in Texas finally learned they were free men and women.

“When you look at our history, when you look at our ancestors, so many of them were killed for reading,” said Ramunda Young. “Here we are, standing in front of a space, opening up a space, that now has books that really celebrate our culture, celebrate our history, and so much more.”

RELATED: Family brings black literature to African-American community with no bookstores

National Harbor executive staff say they are delighted to welcome MahoganyBooks to their neighborhood too.

“This unique bookstore, with its regional and quickly growing national following, is the perfect complement to our retail portfolio of national brands and one-of-a-kind boutiques,” said Kent Digby, executive vice-president and senior asset manager at National Harbor. “National Harbor has quickly become a haven for successful retail entrepreneurs and well-loved brands.”

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