From tragedy comes beauty: thoughts on recent events in Kenosha

It's been a tough couple weeks for Kenosha. We have survived riots, looting, arson, political wars, and international scrutiny.

More importantly, we showed the world that we not only survive, but we thrive in times of crisis.

The grand opening for Blue House Books' new storefront was supposed to be August 29. Now, on September 7, it feels like a lifetime has passed. It was not a difficult decision for me to cancel the event--it was clear that my efforts were needed elsewhere and it was not an appropriate time to celebrate. Instead I spent almost two weeks organizing volunteers for cleanup, boarding businesses, painting plywood, taking in donations, and running around to the point of utter exhaustion.

The boarded entrance of the new Blue House Books storefront, 5615 7th Ave
Boarded BHB storefront, 5615 7th Ave

While the events leading up to the riots were tragic, there was a silver lining: I was able to see the beauty in my city. I saw peaceful protestors refuse to give up their streets, people from Kenosha arriving by the car loads to clean up their city, and visitors from out of town coming out in spades to support their neighbors. I also met my own neighbors: fellow small business owners and workers who were all going through the same heartbreak as me. Former strangers that have now become friends. There truly is beauty is tragedy.

Now that the dust has settled (at least for now), it was finally time to get back to my own work. Over the Labor Day weekend, Kenosha showed up to support their local businesses. It was one of my highest sales weekends ever. It truly goes to show how much we all support each other.

I have finally reopened, and the next step is getting back to getting my new storefront ready! The new grand re-opening date is scheduled for September 19. I cannot wait to share all my new goodies with you! In our new store, BHB will be selling new and used books and literary merchandise such as jewelry, glassware, clothing, and more.

Story time with a princess is from Noon to 1 p.m., and I am working on getting a band or having an open mic setup. We're going to make it a great day.

Please come out and celebrate--I think we could all use a chance to unwind from the last few weeks of stress and heartbreak. What better way than with a community event supporting a local business?! I hope to see you there.

Sam Jacquest is the owner of Blue House Books. She graduated from Oxford Brookes University in the UK with a Master of the Arts degree in Publishing. After struggling to find a publishing job in the Midwest, Sam decided to start her own business, and Blue House Books as born. Sam strives to bring the love of reading to her community through her store, events, and literacy programs. Sam is also a freelance editor, and loves that reading and being surrounded by books is her full time job!

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