Linda Bryant was simply looking for a vehicle to “know people... and to talk about real things.”1 She had no retail background, nor had she researched the idea. She didn’t even create a business plan. Her only certainty was that Charis would "sell books by and about women,” specifically, "spiritual books that were challenging and opening, and children’s books that were anti-sexist and anti-racist.”1
Over 40 years later, Charis is still going strong - one of only thirteen independent feminist bookstores in the country.
During periods when independent bookstores and bookseller superstores were shuttering under the pressures of online competition and the introduction of the ebook, Charis persevered, even broadening their scope to include a non-profit arm, Charis Circle, focused solely on programming, educational work, and social justice.
Today Charis stands as the oldest feminist bookstore in America, and has never wavered from its spirit and missions. As Ms. Bryant shares, “What we are and want to be is a bookstore and a non-profit that exists to promote and honor and celebrate feminist values of mutuality, independence, and compassion.”1
Charis serves the community 360 days of each year, selling thousands of books and related items, and hosting more than 270 events annually, such as writing groups, poetry open mics, and children's story hours.
This historic space is definitely worthy of a visit during your time in Atlanta.
1. Bryant L. A personal story about Charis by Linda Bryant. http://www.charisbooksandmore.com/personal-history-charis-linda-bryant. Accessed November 2017.