Urban Experience Bookstore Co-owners, Kenneth and Tiffany Gerard
The bookstand offers some of the most popular and rare Black magazines around.By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
Do you want to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in Black America? Do you want to read the latest gossip on your favorite African-American celebrities? Do want to know where you can find that new book by your favorite Black author? Do you can find all of them at the Urban Experience Bookstore (UEB).
Located in the Baldwin Hills Plaza, UEB is a one-stop shop for all your reading needs. Kenneth and Tiffany Gerard, co-owners of the bookstand, realized a need within the community,“ when they founded the bookstore. We used to have to travel to different areas to get all of the magazines we liked to read,” said Tiffany. “We wanted to provide a buffet and a variety of magazines to the urban community.”
“I used to always go around and be an avid reader of different, urban magazines,” said Kenneth. Originally from Detroit, he worked in financial planning and eventually moved to California in 1998. “I noticed that [at] most of the newsstands around L.A., [there] would be a parking problem.”
They decided, by putting up a bookstand in the mall, it would make parking and browsing magazines more accessible to everyone. UEB has all the popular Black magazines such as Essence, Vibe, Black Enterprise, Hip Hop Weekly and “O” Magazine. The bookstand also boasts some popular magazine from the East Coast such as 4 Front and Get Money. Tiffany and Kenneth make sure the community stays aware of what’s going on around them.
“Every week, we carry all of the local papers,” said Tiffany. “We have people coming from different places just to get articles from the Sentinel, Our Weekly, [and] the different community newspapers,” said Tiffany. She added that there is a strong sense of community with being a Black media-oriented newsstand that they support.
UEB gives back to the community by being involved in a prison ministry program. “We send a lot of magazines to the correctional facilities in California and outside the state,” said Kenneth. Many UEB customers have incarcerated loved ones, as a result, Tiffany and Kenneth got involved by sending literature, some prisoners, normally wouldn’t be able to receive.
“It’s 100% African-American owned; it’s a community-based business,” said Kenneth. Tiffany and he invite everyone to come and “pick a read.”
The Urban Experience Bookstore is located on Level One. For more information, please call (323) 245-2865.