In the spring of 2012, efforts were undertaken to find a location to house the growing business operations of eQuip Books. After considering a handful of storefronts in Aliquippa, a multi-year lease was signed for the building located at 1001 Franklin Avenue. The storefront, which served as an auto parts store for many years, was in need of considerable renovations. Beginning in November of 2012, a small team of volunteers started working alongside a handful of youth from the community. Thanks to several modest grants, eQuip Books was able to involve nearly a dozen local youth in the building renovation process.
At eQuip Books we recognize the kinds of intangible benefits that deliberate entrepreneurship and thoughtful businesses can provide. That’s why we have strategically located ourselves as one of the first businesses that is encountered when driving along Aliquippa’s historic Franklin Avenue. In the early 1960s the reputation and activities of Franklin Avenue were substantial enough to merit a visit and a speech from former United States President John F. Kennedy. Today, a quick drive down Franklin Avenue demonstrates a stark contrast, with numerous dilapidated buildings, few visitors, and even fewer businesses who still call downtown Aliquippa their home.
As a tangible protest against the continued neglect of the city’s people, infrastructure, and resources, eQuip Books stands as an emerging but growing presence along Franklin Avenue. We seek, over time, to model what business can become. And in the process, we hope to contribute to attracting other like-minded businesses to return to Aliquippa’s historic business district. Our beginnings are admittedly modest, but our vision is expansive and our goals are audacious.