Lexington, Kentucky’s Wild Fig Books and Coffee is a worker-owned co-op, radical bookstore, coffee shop, and community event space located in the North Limestone area.
Originally opened in another location in 2015 by writer Crystal Wilkinson and her partner, Ronald Davis, the shop was (and remains) Kentucky’s only black-owned bookstore. It moved to its current location later that same year, and now operates in a renovated turn-of-the-century house. In its initial phases, much of the shop’s inventory came from the remaining stock of a former area bookshop.
In 2018, however, Crystal and Ronald decided to close the store due to financial difficulties. By then, the shop had become such a neighborhood fixture that members of the community stepped up to keep it alive under a unique business model. They formed the Wild Fig Cooperative and re-launched the shop as a worker-owned co-op – a move that has helped the place to thrive. In fact, after reopening late last year, the shop surpassed its three-month sales projections in just one month.
“A lot of organizing was already happening here, so we wanted to be able to protect that,” says co-founder and worker-owner April Taylor.
Now Wild Fig Books and Coffee is a safe, inclusive, and sacred space where community members find their voice and collective vision. There is co-working space, local coffees, food specials, open mic nights, poetry readings, small concerts, drag queen story-time hours, and a diverse inventory that includes shirts, artwork, incense, crystals, and – of course – books, ranging from African-American works to young adult fiction, activism, politics, graphic novels, spirituality, local poetry, and more. It also hosts pop-up booths for local small businesses and artists.
“We’re different,” notes April. “We’re not your average bookstore. We can’t even begin to carry the inventory most stores carry, but what we do, we do really well.”
The Wild Fig Books and Coffee is located at 726 North Limestone, Lexington, Kentucky. Open Tuesday through Sunday.