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Frugal Bookstore in Roxbury thrives amid outpouring of community support

Frugal Bookstore, the only Black-owned bookshop in Boston, has received an outpouring of support amid nationwide protests against racism and police brutality. So much so that the store sold out of some popular titles and hired two new employees to keep up with the demand.

“Given this moment in time we’re overwhelmed by orders from new customers for which we are extremely grateful,” owners Leonard and Clarissa Egerton wrote in a statement. “This is what is known as a good problem to have.”

Two titles — “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi and “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo — have disappeared from shelves throughout the country, including Frugal’s, as orders have poured in. According to the Egertons’ statement, a new shipment from publishers is due at the end of the month.

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(Boston University announced Thursday that Kendi, one of the country’s foremost scholars on race, will soon join the faculty and will launch the Center for Antiracist Research at BU.)

Only weeks ago, Frugal Bookstore, located at 57 Warren St. in Roxbury, was mostly quiet in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered businesses throughout Massachusetts. Frugal accepted online orders through www.frugalbookstore.net, but sales were slow and infrequent. Leonard even created a GoFundMe campaign to maintain his livelihood and it eventually surpassed its $20,000 goal.

But as protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd swelled last week, more customers began opening their wallets for Black-owned businesses. Frugal started to pop up in widely circulated tweets highlighting local Black-owned spots, like those from literary organizer Dr. Kim Park and online retailer Bookshop.

Now Frugal finds itself with a raft of new customers even as the pandemic endures.

“Your support has given us the ability during this pandemic when so many people around us have lost their jobs and income, to hire two new people in our community to help us with the tremendous job ahead, fulfilling every one of your orders,” the statement read. “We feel like an overnight success.”

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Diti Kohli can be reached at diti.kohli@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ditikohli_.