New Fields Corner bookstore owners target a June opening

Bing Broderick and Porsha Olayiwola, the owners of the Just Bookish bookstore and literary gathering space in the new Dot Crossing building on Dorchester Avenue. Photo courtesy Just Bookish

Members of the Fields Corner Civic Association (FCCA) were told last week by the owners of the bookstore Just Bookish that they plan to open in June on the ground floor of the new Dot Crossing building at 1463 Dorchester Ave. The long-anticipated storefront will also function as a performance and community space in the evening and night hours.

Boston’s poet laureate, Porsha Olayiwola, and Bing Broderick, the former director of Haley House, both of Dorchester, gave residents the timeline and an update during the online meeting. “Construction began two weeks ago, so it’s happening and happening soon,” said Olayiwola. Added Broderick: “It should probably be finished in May, and we would take delivery of 9,000 books and then welcome folks in, probably in June,” added Broderick. “We’ve been very successful in raising the money to build out the space as a for-profit, non-profit hybrid,” he noted.

He explained that the for-profit entity would be the bookstore and food sales, with the non-profit community space venture being the overall owner of the venture.

“No one is making away with a bunch of money; it is a non-profit,” he said.

Olayiwola said they have been using the design firm Co-Everything, which recently finished the design of the Dorchester Food Co-op. She also and noted that the bookstore will be closed on Mondays but would be open every other day of the week, from 2 p.m. on into the night.

“We want to be that place that has programming and is a place to go at night; we want to be the place that opens after home.stead closes and be that third space for folks,” she said.

Right now, the space comprises about 1,250 square feet. ft., and would accommodate 39 people at a time, with moveable shelves that could be relocated for events in the evenings.

One of the models they have thought about is making the site a place for performances. In fact, both met years ago when Olayiwola ran poetry slams at the Haley House that brought in a young and energetic crowd. They hope that will happen at Just Bookish, and that the energy will flow to all age groups.

“We’re excited about it and the activation,” said Broderick. “We look forward to welcoming everyone in.”

“When you walk in your eye is drawn to the area by the T with a raised stage that also has a drop-down movie screen and all wired for sound,” said Olayiwola. “Whoever has the mic has agency. That’s what we’re looking for.”

She also noted that they plan to partner with local food purveyors to offer small bites within the store for food offerings, and they hope to get a beer and wine license, too.

Just Bookish has just launched a GoFundMe campaign for books and inventory.

Leadership shuffle – The association elected its officers at the Feb. 6 meeting. Shamia Hicks, who has been the vice president while Jim Doyle served his term as president, was elected president. Doyle moved to secretary, and Hiep Chu remains as treasurer. The vice president position remains vacant for the moment.

Fields Corner CDC plans renovations – Ellen Mason, executive director of the Fields Corner Community Development Corporation, appeared at the meeting to announce that the organization is planning to raise capital to renovate several of the buildings they own.

Mason, who was the leader of the now-defunct Freeport-Adams Civic Association, said they continue to manage 220 units of low-income housing in and around Fields Corner in scattered sites.

“The buildings are old and beautiful, but we are embarking on a program to refurbish, repair, and upgrade all of the buildings in our two largest groups,” she said, noting that they amount to 130 of their total units.

Police reports –Officers from the C-11 District reported a drug bust in Fields Corner on Jan. 24 at 8 a.m. in an apartment at 1474 Dorchester Ave., where they found 30 bags of cocaine, 16 bags of crack cocaine, Adderall pills, Fentanyl pills, and a loaded Smith & Wesson .45 calibre handgun. A 26-year-old man from Quincy was arrested and charged.

On Feb. 5 at about 1 a.m., police say a person broke into a home in the 300 block of Adams Street. The homeowner reported a white male in the back knocking on the door and shaking the handle of the third-floor rear door. He was wearing latex gloves and using a flashlight. The suspect, a 36-year-old Braintree man, was charged with breaking and entering in the Night.

The FCCA has agreed to continue meeting on Zoom for online monthly meetings with occasional in-person meetings/socials about three or four times a year. The next meeting is March 4 online.

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