Duende District, a bookstore for and by people of color, pops up in West Hyattsville

By Krissi Humbart (View full story online on Hyattsville Life and Times)

A new bookstore is popping up in West Hyattsville.

Duende District, a mobile bookstore that focuses on works by authors and illustrators of color, will pop up in a vacant storefront in Queens Chapel Town Center Friday morning.

Owner Angela Maria Spring, formerly of Politics and Prose, started Duende District in February, with a mission to bring a highly inclusive and pleasurable general bookstore experience to Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas, serving a multicultural community with an equally multicultural ownership and staff.

Coming off a successful pop-up in Brookland, Spring says she is excited about her next stop.

“Everyone I’ve worked with in Hyattsville has been amazing and excited to bring this bookstore and its mission of uplifting voices of color to the community,” Spring said. “This is the biggest endeavor we’ve done as a store yet but it’s also everything I’ve wanted to do since I left Politics & Prose to start the store.”

Local resident and poet Jose Ballesteros connected Spring with Mayor Candace Hollingsworth in May about the possibility of a pop-up in Hyattsville. “He was very supportive and encouraging about Duende District’s mission and pitched the idea of Duende in Hyattsville because it has a strong Hispanic community and was also [at the time] becoming a sanctuary city,” Spring said.

Hollingsworth said she knew there were some vacant storefronts at Queens Chapel Town Center and approached the owners, Harvey Maisel and Michael Hollins. “The property owners enthusiastically agreed and it went from there,” Hollingsworth said. She has worked with Director of Community Services & Public Information Officer Jake Rollow to connect Spring with local business owners, community groups and organizations to help design programs to be held in the space.

“I think hosting the pop-up at Queens Chapel Town Center allows us to create a culturally rich space for the community while also, hopefully, demonstrating that this type of business ‘works’ and is welcome at the shopping center,” Hollingsworth said. “I would love to see Duende with a more permanent presence in Hyattsville. Beyond that, though, I’m hopeful that this encourages an addition to the retail mix that’s currently at [Queens Chapel Town Center].”