Orange County entrepreneur opens independent bookstore committed to embracing African American culture

A 10-year journey to being a business owner in Central Florida

Dr. Trenessa Williams, owner of Kizzy's Books & More (Dr. Trenessa Williams)

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – In honor of Black Business Month, News 6 spoke with entrepreneur Trenessa Williams, owner of the online bookstore Kizzy’s Books & More.

When Williams describes her journey into entrepreneurship, the first word she uses is “eclectic.” As a high school student, the Winter Garden resident would say that she wanted to be a fashion buyer living in New York, buying clothing for a high-end boutique.

It wasn’t until 2008 that Williams’ vision for herself shifted. After going to visit the local African American-owned bookstore, she saw that it was permanently closed.

“I got up that Saturday morning, went to that bookstore, to find out that the location wasn’t open,” Williams explained. “I thought, ‘OK, we need a bookstore here.’”

That realization began Williams’ 10-year journey to owning Kizzy’s Books & More.

In 2008, she embarked on her path by pursuing an MBA in marketing. After working hard on her studies, Williams earned her Doctorate of Business Administration in 2014. When she finished school, she worked as a school liaison for Orange County Public Schools and an instructor for Bethune-Cookman University.

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“My parents always told myself and my siblings, ‘sink or swim,’” Williams said. “Come 2018, my mom sat down with me and said, ‘Trenessa, you’re doing all this stuff. What are you going to do now? Sink or swim?’ and I said, ‘I’m going to swim.’”

Since her decision to start her business, Williams has used her experiences in entrepreneurship as an active community member. Over the summer, she collected over 100 books written by African American authors to donate to children.

“I reached out to some organizations and my customers and set up [the book drive] on my site,” Williams said. “Reading is so fundamental and so powerful, and it’s especially important for kids to have access to books.”

Despite her success as a business owner, Williams doesn’t want to stop growing now.

“The idea for Kizzy’s Books & More is to have a physical location in the Parramore area,” Williams said. “When I was doing my research for my doctorate, Parramore was one of the areas that stuck out to me because of its rich history, especially the African American history.”

Today, in addition to owning an online bookstore, she teaches graduate and undergraduate marketing and entrepreneurship courses at Colorado Technical University.

“When I talk to my students, I always tell them that it’s okay to have different jobs and different aspirations,” Williams said. “You’ll get to wherever it is that you want to get to.”

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About the Author:

Brianna Ellis joined News 6 in September.