Dominique Lenaye opens Stoughton’s first Black-owned brick-and-mortar bookstore

Itty Bitty makes a big entrance.
Dominique Lenaye standing in book shelves at Itty Bitty Bookstore
Dominique Lenaye opened Itty Bitty Bookstore this year, the only Black-owned business on Stoughton's Main Street and one of few Black-owned bookstores in Wisconsin. (January 2021)
Photo by Larry Chua

The library was always Dominique Lenaye’s favorite spot to hang out growing up, and owning her own bookstore was a childhood dream. “Into adulthood, I started to realize there was a lack of representation in almost everything I read,” she says. “I didn’t see myself in much around me, and as I started teaching my daughter to read it became more and more important to me that we bring representation into our household.”

Fast-forward to today, and Lenaye is the owner of Stoughton’s Itty Bitty Bookstore, where she makes sure there are books on the shelves that provide diverse representation and storytelling. Located above the restaurant Wendigo, Itty Bitty Bookstore holds the title of the only Black-owned business on Stoughton’s Main Street.


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The name is literal, as Itty Bitty is housed in a 120-square-foot midsize office space. “I live a very minimalistic lifestyle and have always loved the idea of having only what’s needed,” Lenaye says.

Lenaye’s call to action came when she decided to start a fundraiser to create yard signs for fellow Stoughton residents to show that their town was a welcoming place for people of color. “Our community has been in need of more Black representation for years,” Lenaye wrote in an update on her GoFundMe page. Lenaye decided to take her initiative a step further by filling those shoes herself. “As an educator, a mother and person of color, I see every day how important it is to see yourself in your surroundings,” she says.Magazine footer that says "Like this article, get so much more by subscribing"