INDIANAPOLIS — After a hard fight in 2020 to keep her business in a downtown Kokomo building with close ties to her family, DeAndra Beard-Ingram has moved her bookstore to Indianapolis.
"Beyond Barcodes Bookstore" opens at 3139 E. 10th St., next door to "10 East Arts Hub," on Saturday, Independent Bookstore Day.
Moving Beyond Barcodes to Indy wasn't a decision Beard-Ingram made lightly.
Kokomo is Beard-Ingram's home. Her love for the Howard County city runs deep.
"I'm called to Kokomo. I'm not done there," Beard-Ingram told WRTV.
The majority of the work Beard-Ingram and her team did at Beyond Barcodes was community-focused. Whether through her trademark business or her two other businesses — "Beyond Borders Language Learning Center" and "Bind Cafe" — she always facilitated communal conversations.
"I honestly don't know how we would have done — or had the impact we had — without the love and the support of the family who owned that building," Beard-Ingram shared.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the building owners "had to do what was best for them" and sell the Main Street property, Beard-Ingram said.
The love the bookstore owner had for her hometown was clearly reciprocated when about $38,000 was raised in an attempt to keep Beyond Barcodes on Main Street.
Alas, the money needed to keep Beyond Barcodes in its beloved building wasn't raised in time, and another interested buyer purchased the property.
"So, we gave them money that we owed them, and we bought a food bus," Beard-Ingram said. "We're bringing that to Indy too."
Beard-Ingram is not done with Kokomo in the slightest. Not only did she recently move just north of Kokomo, but she looks forward to continuing a level of community work.
"I knew I needed to rest. That may sound like an oxymoron because I'm commuting, but I did. I needed to rest and sort of be wrapped around in a community where the level of having to educate and having to do some of that deeper work... I won't necessarily have to do as much of that here (in Indy)," Beard-Ingram said. "I'll be able to just sort of engage with the community, do some of that higher-level work that I love to do, and still keep working on the deep work that I am called to do in Kokomo."
East 10th Street: An 'existing ecosystem of artists'
About a year ago, Beard-Ingram set her sights on moving Beyond Barcodes to Indy.
"My customer base was growing so quickly here. It made sense to have a space here where the customers are," Beard-Ingram explained. "I'm just excited to be here."
She spent almost a year getting to know the city better, specifically the east side, where she ultimately decided she wanted Beyond Barcodes to be.
"The fact that there's already this existing ecosystem of artists that are right here who are connected to this building — it made so much sense," Beard-Ingram said.
Beyond Barcodes also shares an outdoor space with 10 East Arts Hub, where Beard-Ingram will have her "Ubuntu Food Bus by Bind Cafe" stationed.
Beyond Barcodes plans to host author-speaking events, facilitate pop-up coffee shop days, and partner with the Arts Hub for future events. Plus, the bookstore is starting a writing club for Black boys, "Black Scribble."
The new location will be more focused, Beard-Ingram said. The Language Center is on pause for now, and the Ubunto Food Bus will be pulled out on certain days, allowing for a particular focus on the bookstore.
"The employees that are here, they're going to take big leads on the work that we're doing here, generate ideas, and I'm going to just stay over here where I am, in the background, and sort of move the space in the direction that we have envisioned to go," Beard-Ingram said.
On Saturday, Beyond Barcodes will officially open its doors on East 10th Street with the help of its surrounding community and local women entrepreneurs.
Victoria Beaty's Botanical Bar will have plants for sale; author Dana Bradford-Majors' work will be featured; Dainty Jewels will have accessories available for purchase; and Beyond Barcodes' resident artist, Kei’Anna Anderson, will have her art for sale.
Beard-Ingram says, of course, there's more to come.
"We're gonna keep building in layers. And as we get settled in, just expect more."
WRTV Digital Reporter Shakkira Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow her on Twitter, @shakkirasays.