‘GMA’ pays visit to DC bookstore for Black Business Month

Hannah Oliver Depp, the owner of Loyalty Bookstore, has made it her mission to write a new chapter for her community when it comes to access to books and representation.
7:25 | 08/15/22

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Transcript for ‘GMA’ pays visit to DC bookstore for Black Business Month
- Hi, I'm Kim Roxie from LaMique Beauty in Houston, Texas. Happy Black Business Month. - Hey, everybody. This is Marc Lamont Hill from Uncle Bobbie's Coffee and Books in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Happy Black Business Month. - Good morning from New Orleans, Louisiana. I'm Zuri Nelson, owner of Botanica Bonola, a smoothie and juice bar. Good morning, America. - Welcome back to GMA. Yes, August is Black Business Month. And this morning, we're so excited to kick off our celebration. - Yeah. It is day one of our series, Black Business Boost, highlighting incredible Black-owned businesses in America that are still trying to bounce back from the pandemic. In fact, according to H&R Block, roughly 53% of Black business owners lost at least half of their revenue since the beginning of the pandemic. That's compared to 37% of white business owners. - And we're in our nation's capitol, where Hannah Oliver Deep, the owner of Loyalty Bookstore is writing a new chapter for her community when it comes to access to books and representation. She's standing by, as you can see. She's live outside her store, but first, let's take a look at her story. [MUSIC PLAYING] Here in the nation's capital packed on the shelves at Loyalty Bookstore-- - It was Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, Angela Davis. - --books celebrating and amplifying all voices. - I got a customer last week and was like where's the Black section? And I'm just like we're Black-owned. And she just got so excited. - There's just a lot of stories that aren't told and spread on a regular basis. And people get to come in and just see the world from a different perspective. - Owner Hannah Oliver Depp has made it her mission to highlight representation across all genres. - Turns out there's tons of books that are fantasy and about Black people. There's horror, there's mystery, there is romance. So I want to make sure everyone knows that there's a multiplicity of Black stories. We hope to build a bookmobile so we can get out and see as many folks as possible. - With her new goal on wheels, Hannah's passionate about providing novels across the district to those who need them most. The economy has made reaching that goal extremely difficult. - It can be a lot on a day-to-day basis. Paying a living wage in a city is extremely difficult and it's something that we're really committed to doing. - To help boost Hannah's day, we brought in DC native and New York Times best-selling author Jason, Reynolds, the young adult writer known for page turners like Ghost, Patina, and Ain't Burned All the Bright. - Hey, y'all, it's Jason Reynolds here. I'm about to go inside and surprise my girl Hannah. - Joining the conversation with Loyalty book-lovers. - We all-- brother. - I can come in? What's happening? - What you doing? - And celebrating Hannah's success. - I think independent bookstores in general, but Black independent bookstores provide community spaces for us. Since I have you all here and so many of us work on your behalf or work in service to you, what would you all say might be missing? What can we do better? - More cultures in general, not just America. There's a whole world to have a story from. - Seeing us in our natural habitat where we do experience joy, we do experience love. It's not always trauma. - Reynolds leaving his mark with signed copies of his books that Hannah hopes to one day display on her Dream Bookmobile. - Thank you, I appreciate it. - Oh. And joining us now, as you can see, from our nation's capitol is Hannah Oliver Depp. Hannah, great to have you with us live on GMA and seeing you in the piece with our dear friend, Jason Reynolds. Just let us know why you decided to open this bookstore. And you say it's all in the name, isn't it? - It is. Yes. I decided to open this bookstore because I wanted to have an influence not only on my community, but also in publishing. I wanted to provide jobs for people of color who love to sell books and talk about books and people from all sorts of backgrounds to come together. And then also to represent my neighborhoods so that they can see themselves on the shelf when they come in. They might not be expecting to, but they're going to find their own stories, they're going to find stories about their neighbors who may or may not look like them. DC is incredibly diverse, everyone lives here. And so we wanted that whole community to be reflected on our shelves. And then we wanted to influence what kind of books get published and what kind of books get attention. And we were just desperate to make sure that we are a store that proves that people of color buy books, Black people buy books, and our community buys books. And the name is because we wanted to let our community know that we were going to stay here, that if we open our store in your neighborhood we are loyal to you and you are loyal to us, and this is where we're going to be. - Great. - Oh, I just love your spirit, Hannah. And I love this fact, more than 300 new bookstores have opened up across the country just in the past few years and they're becoming more diverse. Now, what does that mean to you as a bookstore owner? - It's a wonderful breath of fresh air. When I started in this industry a little over 10 years ago, I was usually the only person of color in the room when I would walk in. And there's an incredible history of Black bookstores in America, but they weren't involved in the mainstream industry, for a lot of reasons. And so now to walk into the room and not be the only one and to have my brothers and sisters in the room is incredible. And we are changing everything, the way people think about what a store is and what a store does and what it means, all those rules are out the window. - Hannah, in the piece we saw your dream about having a Loyalty Bookstore Bookmobile. What do you think that would do for your community? - I would like to open 1,000 stores and have a shop everywhere for everyone, but that's just not possible. And also DC is a really, really lively place. Maryland, Virginia, our whole community works together. And so, we just want to be able to go to where the people are and bring them lots and lots of books. It's a lively, noisy town. And so we want to be able to get to every single neighborhood and make sure that they can have books in their community when they need them. - Well, we are not the only ones impressed with all the work that you're doing there in your community. We have some friends, especially at Wells Fargo, and they heard about your bookstore, Hannah, and your mission to have a bookmobile. Guess what? They're giving you $20,000. $20,000 right there. - Oh my God. [CLAPPING] - It's a giant check, they really do do this. [LAUGHTER] - That's true. [CHEERING] - Hannah, Hannah, what will you be able to do with that money for your bookmobile? [CHEERING] [MUSIC PLAYING] - We'll be able to take our bookmobile from a thing parked in the alley behind the store to a fully operational machine filled with books that we can bring to all of our neighborhoods. This is incredible. - Well, congratulations, Hannah. Your joy is beautiful to witness because it's all about helping others. And we can't wait to see what you do next. Stay in touch with us. Love that. - Thank you so much. - All right. Tomorrow, we're going to introduce you to another amazing Black-owned business, and hopefully we can put a smile on their face too. - Hopefully so.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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