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14 APRIL 18.2009 • QNotes
R EG ! O N A L
White Rabbit Raleigh hops
to temp location
Bookstore exits longtime space
in preparation for planned
by David Stout. Q-Notes staff
White Rabbit, which for nearly two
decades has been the communal and com
mercial heart of queer Raleigh, has pulled up
stakes from its well-known retail space at 309
W. Martin St. and moved to a temporary loca
tion. It was a short trek, though — right next
door to 307 W. Martin St., which already hous
es Stuff Consignment.
The two businesses will share space
until White Rabbit moves into its new perma
nent digs this summer. The address of the
final destination remains under wraps pend
ing completed lease negotiations.
[Ed. Note: Q-Notes publisher Jim Yarbrough and
this writer co-own the White Rabbit chain.]
Former owner John Neal opened
Raleigh’s “gay and lesbian
everything store” in 1991,
six years ^er establishing
the now-closed flagship
store in Greensboro.
The Charlotte store
trailed Raleigh by a lit
tle more than a year.
St. in the city’s warehouse district was
prompted in part by the presence of popular
gay nightclub Capital Corral (now known as
The CC) one block away and the area’s rela
tively low rent prices.
Another critical factor in the decision was
that “the landlord was willing to accept a gay
and lesbian bookstore,” Neal said. “That was
very much an issue, of owners not wanting to
rent to a gay and lesbian store.”
In addition to offering Triangle patrons a
wide range of LGBT books, magazines, cards
and gift items, White Rabbit quickly became a
crucial community resource for disseminat
ing news and publicizing events. The store’s
massive bulletin boards teemed with flyers
trumpeting this fundraising event or that
Further cementing the establishment’s
local ties, then-store manager Jim Baxter pro
duced his popular, long-standing LGBT news
paper The Front Page out of the store’s back
room for about a decade until the publica
tion merged with Q-Notes in 2006.
“White Rabbit has been intricately
woven into the fabric of the Triangle
LGBT community for nearly two
decades now^ said store co-owner
Jim Yarbrough. “This relationship
is greatly valued
and our high-
Neal was already running a successful
mail-order calligraphy business in Greensboro
when in 1984 he decided to sell a selection of
gay and lesbian books out of his work space.
“The building was being renovated by
two lesbians and they encouraged me to
carry gay and lesbian books for sale, and I
did. It grew from that,”he told Q-Notes.“The
calligraphy was all mail order and the gay
books were all retail.”
When Neal was ready to expand into a
second market, he settled on Raleigh. He
said the decision to set up shop on Martin
est concern is nurturing it to become even
stronger. While negotiations are ongoing at this
time, we are very excited about the possibilities
of the permanent jnove we’re planning. If all
goes as expected, by mid-summer we’ll be
serving the region better than ever before.”
When asked for any final remarks, Neal
pointedly told Q-Noto, “In many cities larger
than Raleigh, the gay and lesbian stores are no
longer there. Raleigh has a resource that many
cities don’t have anymore. Everyone should go
into the new location and shop to make sure it
stays around.” >
LGBT community gets included
from page 11
university, but he is hopeful the vote will help
to make LGBT students and faculty feel more
accepted and appreciated on campus.
“It’s powerful in the sense that people
know the university is serious about protect
ing their rights,” he commented. “We’re not
going to move away from our founding ten
ants — we’re going to be fair and accepting...
We’re not going to stand for our workers and
our students being discriminated against.”
Senior Brandon Hughes says he appreciated
the gesture. Hughes, a business administration
major, serves as president of the Gay/Straight
Student Alliance, which was formed on campus
late last year.
“We’re very excited about having the res
olution passed; it’s a big step for Winston-
Salem State,” declared the Charlotte native.
“I hope that it will galvanize (the LGBT com
munity) more and help them realize that you
have a right to be who you are and there are
consequences for someone who discrimi
nates against you On campus...you don’t
have to sit silent.”
Hughes says he is glad to attend a school
that is willing to take a stand on the issue.
“It really has restored my faith in how
things are done here,” he said. “It makes me
proud to be a Ram.” I
— This article was originally published on
March 26 by The Winston-Salem Chronicle.
It is reprinted with permission.