Red Emma’s is on the move. Baltimore’s cooperatively-run, radical bookstore and cafe, is moving for the fourth time, this time to what owners call their “forever home” in Waverly.
The business announced the move in a statement on Twitter:
“You may have heard a rumor that Red Emma’s is buying a building.
That rumor is FALSE.
We’re actually buying TWO buildings!”
The properties are located at 415 E. 32nd Street and the storefront at 3128 Greenmount Avenue. Red Emma’s plans to renovate them to start “a multi-level community coffeehouse, bookstore, and social center,” according to the statement.
Named after anarchist Emma Goldman, Red Emma’s first opened 17 years ago at St. Paul and Madison streets. It later moved to 30 W. North Avenue before relocating to Mid-Town Belvedere around 2018.
The indoor dining room and bookstore are both closed to the public during the pandemic, but books and food are available for pickup, according to the website.
In Waverly, Red Emma’s will join the ranks of local businesses like Normals, Peabody Heights, My Mama’s Vegan and Pete’s Grille. With them, Red Emma’s hopes to “reimagine a Greenmount avenue commercial district that is community-focused and meeting the needs of the neighborhoods that border it,” according to the statement.
Red Emma’s co-founder Kate Khatib could not immediately be reached for comment. Khatib, who is also executive director of the Baltimore Roundtable for Economic Democracy, has helped other area businesses transition into worker owned cooperative models, whereby employees can own part of the business and have a say in how its run. North Avenue pizza shop Joe Squared recently announced it would transition to a worker-owned model.
According to the announcement, the state housing department’s Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative program along with state capital grants helped to fund the purchase of the new buildings.
Red Emma’s also cited the support of the Central Baltimore Partnership, Central Baltimore Future Fund, and Waverly Main Street.