A 4,300-square-foot bookstore is coming to the H Street NE corridor courtesy of two longtime Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe employees.
According to The Washington Post, Solid State Books will open this fall in The Apollo development, which is already home to H Street’s Whole Foods Market.
Jake Cumsky-Whitlock, the former head buyer at Kramerbooks, and Scott Abel, a former general manager at the Dupont institution, signed a lease for the space this week, according to the report.
The pair left Kramerbooks in February after clashes arose with Steve Salis, who took over the bookstore in late 2016, according to the report. Salis is the co-founder of pizza chain &pizza. Stephanie Hess, another former Kramerbooks employee, is helping out with Solid State.
Cumsky-Whitlock and Abel have worked to secure about $600,000 for Solid State, raising much of it from friends and community members, according to the report.
The Apollo is Insight Property Group’s $189 million mixed-use project on the former Murry’s grocery store site. The development includes 430 residential units, nearly 40,000 square feet of retail in addition to the 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods, green roofs, rooftop garden plots and two below-grade levels of parking.
Solid State will have an events space and small cafe that will include beer and wine, according to the report, as well as a large children’s section.
“D.C. is such a literate town, and even though we have a number of great bookstores, it’s still a very under-served market,” Cumsky-Whitlock told the Post. “There are so many booming neighborhoods that don’t have a single bookstore. This our way of helping change that.”
In May, venerable D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose announced it would open a bookstore inside Union Market in Northeast D.C. this fall. Like Solid State, the location plans to hold readings and author signings.
Also in May, Amazon.com announced plans for a brick-and-mortar bookstore in Georgetown.