Lit. on Fire Books in Peoria, Ill. Expanding

With the help of grant funding from the city of Peoria, Ill., Lit. on Fire Books is expanding into the building next door to create more space for work and customers. WMDB reported that the bookstore is a recent recipient of a RISE (recovery, income, start-up, and expansion) grant, funded by the federal American Rescue Plan. The grant program aims to help Peoria businesses and start-ups affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"I started with nothing in a 256-square-foot studio space, and ever since I have sacrificed pretty much any pay and put every single penny back into growing and making Lit better for everyone in the community," said owner Jessica Stephenson. "This grant money makes it possible for me to do this with style." The bookstore has been closed during recent weeks for renovations, and Stephenson hopes to hold a soft re-opening soon.

In Facebook post sharing the WMDB piece, Stephenson wrote that "sometimes good things happen to people who are used to mostly bad things and nobody is going to rain on my parade because this is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and I am honored that someone somewhere thought it was worth celebrating as well."

Lit. on Fire Books is also partnering with its neighbor, My Writing Shed, which is expected to hold a soft launch this month. My Writing Shed "will be a space for local writers to create, and share their experiences and work with others. A pay-what-you-can membership will begin in December," WMDB noted.

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