The shop around the corner


New downtown bookstore opens

Indianapolis has the opportunity to discover a new favorite bookstore this weekend, and the chance to discover a host of new writers and works. A Shade of Gray Bookstore will hold its grand opening July 14-15 at its new downtown location at 14th and Pennsylvania streets.

Co-owners Robin Cain and Tiffany Dow founded the independent bookstore as a way to address the absence of a black bookstore or woman-centered bookstore in Indianapolis, as well as be a reflection of the neighborhood and community they want to serve. “We want the books we sell to reflect the lives of the people in this neighborhood, in the community,” Dow says.

To that end, the inventory at A Shade of Gray represents a wide array of what would typically be considered marginalized cultural narrative. Rather than follow the model of the chain/mall bookstore by dedicating the occasional shelf to women, African-American, or GLBT literature, here the entire store is turned over to “otherness.”

“I suppose we’re a feminist bookstore simply by being two women selling books by, for and about women; and we do have a feminist section in the store,” Dow explains. “But we are really hoping that people see us as a place where they can find a wide variety of books and authors that they wouldn’t encounter in a chain or mall store.”

Cain and Dow envision A Shade of Gray Bookstore as a community-centered space where everyone is welcome. In addition to selling books for adults and children, the store stocks magazines, journals, greeting cards, and fair trade items from World of Good. They also have a meeting room available for small groups to use and offer DVD/VHS rentals of films that fit the same narrative criteria as the books they carry. Several book signings and musical events are scheduled for upcoming months, and special-ordering books from small or independent publishers is a service the store is happy to assist with.

Being a neighborhood store is not simply about location for the co-owners. They’ve scheduled a series of events aimed at both readers and non-readers. “We really want people to feel like this is a neighborhood place,” Dow says.

Cain is holding knitting and crocheting classes every Wednesday from 5:30-8 p.m., and all skill levels and needlework are welcome. There is also a monthly Couples Night-Potluck/Game Night beginning Saturday, Aug. 5, 2006, 6:30-9 p.m. The event is free, and attendees are asked to bring a dish or snack to share. Soda and water will be provided.

A Shade of Gray Bookstore’s Grand Opening Celebration will take place Friday, July 14 from 6:30-9 p.m. and Saturday, July 15 from 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Special events include storytelling, live musical performances, and 20 percent off of all purchases. A Shade of Gray Bookstore is located just north of downtown at 14th and Pennsylvania Street. The store is two blocks north of I-65 (Meridian Street exit) and six blocks north of the Central Library.

A Shade of Gray

1402 N. Pennsylvania St.

Indianapolis, IN 46202


Store Hours:

Monday - closed

Tuesday - closed

Wednesday - 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Thursday - 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Friday- 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday - 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday - 12-7 p.m.


Recommended for you