An Interview with Rick Griffith, owner of The Shop at MATTER in Denver, Colorado.

Welcome to the next installment of the Bookstore Solidarity Project! Every month, we’ll be highlighting indie bookstore owners and booksellers across the country.

This month, we’re featuring The Shop at MATTER in Denver! It’s a Black- and woman-owned store that also triples as a design consultancy and letterpress workshop.

Your name and pronouns?
Rick Griffith (He/Him/Them)

Tell us a little bit about the store and your community!
Since 2014 our bookstore has been the only Black- and woman-owned independent, full service (internet and brick) cultural justice bookstore in the United States Mountain Time Zone. We are a haven for fem, queer, non-binary, trans, LatinX, Indigenous, AAPI, and Black persons. We have always respected and invested in the intellectual and creative products of the people who represent our community. We have a print shop with five letterpress printing presses and thousands of pieces of wood type that we employ to print community projects that are pro-democracy, pro-liberation, and pro-freedom. We are political—and we are activists. A bookstore to integrate Art, Design and Cultural Justice for all generations.

What got you into bookselling?
The desire to positively affect the lives of the people we know and love with books and products that acknowledge those of us in the margins.

What’s something about your store that you think will surprise people?
We are working on a lending library for our community so everyone can have access. We have five 19th and early 20th century printing presses. We letterpress print for our community and ask people to pay what they can afford for most of our prints.

What are some of you favorite ways your community supports your store?
Besides buying books, buying our prints and posters. Ordering for personal and business book clubs. Having us bring our pop-up to conferences and large gatherings. Getting the word out. Shopping in pairs.

What are two books you can’t wait for people to read, or your current favorite handsells?
Can’t Pay Won’t Pay and There are Places in the World Where Rules are Less Important than Kindness

How can customers who aren’t local shop your shelves?
on the internet:

Anything else you would like us to know?
We are love, revolution, and abolition.

Be sure to follow The Shop at MATTER on Instagram and Facebook, and check out their interview on our podcast here!

Check out our other Bookstore Solidarity Project posts here!
And click here to check out How to Protect Bookstores and Why.