Five years ago, Pamela and Jeffrey Blair embarked on a mission to ensure all children of color would be able to see themselves in the books they read.
Since then, the couple moved their EyeSeeMe African American Children's Bookstore in University City to a bigger location, held book fairs at local schools and had plans to open a cafe in their store.
But like many small businesses, their plans came to a screeching halt as the coronavirus spread throughout the region. A countywide stay-at-home order led them to close their doors to the public, lay off workers and cancel book signings and author visits. School closures brought an additional hit, with dozens of canceled book orders, as well as field trips and book fairs.