We had the good fortune of connecting with Sherricka Carpenter Stanley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sherricka, how did you come up with the idea for your business?
I actually came up with the idea of having my own business in 2008 and cultivated the idea more in 2011 when I had a much clearer version of what it was I wanted to do. I came up with the idea of a Bookstore/Cafe in 2011 and wanted it to be a “Starbucks meets Barnes and Noble” for youth. I knew I wanted a place where young people could come, hang out, study and just call their own. I knew I wanted it to have a creative vibe to it and be a place that was family friendly.
Fast forward to 2020, when I decided to take the leap into becoming a full-time author, things just began to fall into place for me. After sharing with one of the owners of a local Black owned, award winning restaurant here in Greensboro, NC that my dream was to own my own Bookstore, he asked me about cultivating the Creative Space of their restaurant! How could I say NO to that?!! It was the opportunity to plant the seed of my own brick and mortar someday! So now I am what I would liken to the curator in a museum, I am able to do that at Next Chapter Bookstore/Gift Shop in Ben’s Boyz Restaurant!!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a Creative. In every sense of the word. I am most at peace when I am creating SOMEthing. Whether that is writing a book; I am a self-published author. Creating spaces and opportunities for other creatives. I have the honor of being the creative mind behind Next Chapter Bookstore/Gift Shop in Ben’s Boyz here in Greensboro, NC. Or anything that allows me to use my energies towards bringing something to life!!
Professionally, my journey started in the classroom. I am a former educator of 20+ years in both the middle and high school levels. I taught math and LIFE to countless students who are still all my babies. It was during the pandemic of 2020 that I was encouraged by my own mantra to my own children and students in the form of Lee Ann Womack’s song, “I hope you dance”. The lyrics of that song was something I preached, but was not living. So, I decided to jump, land and dance!
Was it easy? Absolutely not. Jumping with no safety net is dangerous. But, I had my faith, my family and fearless focus to under gird me, so I was able to go for it!
One of the biggest lessons I learned was, I was going to have to trust total strangers with my dreams and my gifts. That was a tough lesson, but one I have learned to embrace. It’s not easy to give your dreams to just anyone. Because not everyone will understand your vision. However, when you find like minded individuals with the same energy as you, link up and hold on!!
What I want the world to know about my story is my story is ABOUT me, but not FOR me. The opportunity for me to share what I have experienced is for someone else to use as their guide. Someone else to use as their ‘what to do and what not to do’ guide! I am no different than the next person and am just extremely grateful for where I am in my journey. Once I let go of fear, God opened the way for the things I had prayed for! I get to live that out every day and that’s an amazing feeling!!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would have to say the first place I am taking anyone that visits Greensboro, NC is to my alma mater, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (Aggie Pride), the largest HBCU in the nation. It is RICH with history and I would absolutely walk them through every aspect of that history. From The A&T Four, to the bullet holes in Scott Hall to Ronald McNair, just to name a few.
We would HAVE to visit the International Civil Rights Museum after hearing the history of the A&T/Greensboro Four.
Definitely would have to eat at Ben’s Boyz and let them shop in my Bookstore/Gift Shop located in the restaurant. We would eat at Kau, Scrambled and Arigato’s. For dessert, we would have to do a Downtown trek to Savor the Moment and eat it in Center City Park or LeBeaur Park.
We would hang out Downtown at Boxcar and Fat Tuesdays. We would have to check out the latest show at the new Tanger Center for Performing Arts. Right now Wicked is showing. Lion King and Hamilton are up next.
Would probably take them to one of my hidden gems and peaceful place in Gateway Gardens for a picnic and good conversation.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The book. I have to shout out the book The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats because this was the book that changed my life. My Uncle Kenny (another shout out) introduced me to this book as a child along with Keats’ other books. This was the first time I would see a book with characters of color on them.
My family. I have to shout out my #StanleyCrew for supporting me in my jump into becoming a full-time author, along with my immediate family. Their support has anchored me along with my faith.
The Wyatt Family. I have to thank Joseph and Will Wyatt for their trust in me to run the Creative Space of their restaurant and trust me with their vision to bring it to life. I am eternally grateful. I have to also shout out JJ McQueen for the support and for recommending me for this opportunity!! Collaborations are on the horizon for sure!!
Other: Text: 336-541-6161
Toni Shaw, Shaw Photography Group