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Brown Books & More is Positively Building Community

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“No matter your culture, when you come in here, you’re going to feel welcomed.”

That’s how Janelle Brown, owner of Brown Books & More, describes her Decatur bookstore. It’s a place where community happens, where everybody knows your name.

The brick-and-mortar store first opened in 2022, and since then, Janelle has been growing her business to create a place where every person can feel represented, welcomed, and inspired.

Janelle started her career in the banking industry, but after nearly two decades in finance, she decided to turn her attention to entrepreneurship. Inspired by the need to increase literacy and reading levels among Black and brown students, she set out to open a bookstore where anyone could see themselves represented.

“We have books for everyone,” says Janelle of the store’s selection. “We cover every genre and every culture.”

But beyond just selling books, Brown Books & More is a community gathering place.

The store offers a lunch menu with smoothies, chicken salad, and more, inviting guests to relax and take their time inside. Reading rooms are available for groups and individuals to use.

And if a club or small group wants to use the space to meet? “No charge,” says Janelle. The room is meant to be used by the community.

Even the store’s interior decoration has been chosen intentionally to make the space feel like home to its guests. Walking through the door, patrons can feel they belong.

“You always see somebody that you know [here],” says Janelle, speaking of the community atmosphere.

We wanted to know: What makes Decatur a great place to live and run her business?

Many things, according to Janelle. She appreciates Decatur’s affordability, plentiful job market, and rich history.

“It’s a small town but still has access [to] modern amenities,” she says. “You can support your family here.”

In fact, when asked to describe Decatur in a word or phrase, Janelle keeps it simple: “Decatur is home.”

We couldn’t agree more!

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