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August 17, 2000

Houston, Tex.


HOUSTON, Tex. --, a Houston-based company which has the world’s largest selection of African-American products and is the most highly trafficked Black e-commerce site on the Internet, will open a retail store in Houston. The store’s grand opening will be Saturday, Sept. 16 at the company’s current location, 13559 Bammel N. Houston Rd., in the FM 1960/Veterans Memorial area.

"In contemplating the feasibility of a retail store, we discovered that we had nearly all of the elements required to make it a success," says president and co-founder, Willie A. Richardson. "We were already in retail space (in a strip center), had inventory, a significant customer base in Houston and a rising public profile. The retail store brings an additional revenue stream and also allows us to reach more customers in Houston than we otherwise would have," he added.

The opening of a brick-and-mortar store by a dot-com company is an innovative concept which may be the wave of the future. As well-established brick-and-mortar stores increase their presence on the Internet, dot-coms will be forced to craft off-line strategies to reach customers.

Willie and Gwen Richardson, co-founders of, realized that they needed an off-line strategy to reach the site’s niche of African-American consumers a year ago and began publishing a twice-yearly catalog. The success of the catalog convinced them that they could not afford to leave so many revenues unrealized. Studies have shown that only about 2 percent of retail sales are conducted on-line, which means that 98 percent are still transacted through traditional means, such as in-store and catalog sales.

The site’s retail store’s name will be, since computers will be available in the store so customers can purchase out-of-stock items, or receive one-on-one instructions on how to order products on-line.’s product lines include African-American books, videos, toys, games, dolls, art prints, software, calendars, greeting cards, stationery items, apparel, art prints, collectibles and Black Greek products. Prices in the store will be the same as on line.  Click here for more info about the Houston store.

For media interviews or more information, contact Gwen Richardson at (281) 444-4265.

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