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“It’s a mission:” But after 28 years, owner of WI’s last black-owned bookstore turns page, gears up for retirement

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MILWAUKEE -- She is closing the doors after 28 years spent opening up so many minds. The final sale at Reader's Choice, the last black-owned bookstore in Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee, happened this weekend. The owner is now gearing up for retirement.

"I call them my bookstore friends," Carla Allison said.

Carla Allison

Over 28 years, she impacted so many lives.

"She is friendly, loving, informational," Liddie Collins-Siegrist said.

With her customers, she shared book suggests while encouraging literacy.

Reader's Choice bookstore

Reader's Choice bookstore

Reader's Choice bookstore

"She introduces you to new authors. It's a treasure," Collins-Siegrist said.

Full of knowledge, she has exposed the community to stories of different genres, written by the same ethnicity.

Carla Allison

"I specialize in minority authors, so there are so many African-American authors that would not be found in chain bookstores or other independently owned bookstores," Allison said.

After running the last black-owned bookstore in the state of Wisconsin, she's turning the page, gearing up for retirement.

"It's bittersweet," Allison said.

She was praised by city leaders and thanked for her service.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs honors Carla Allison

"Your work in this community will surely be missed. The Common Council of the City of Milwaukee hereby congratulates Carla Allison on her retirement from the Readers Choice bookstore stores. We extend appreciation on behalf of the community for her valuable contributions and wishes for her a happy and healthy retirement," Alderwoman Milele Coggs said.

As she looks ahead to the next chapter in her life, she's reflecting on the people she's helped and influenced.

Carla Allison

"It's not really a business for me. It's a mission," Allison said.