For many, reading provides an escape from everyday life. It presents an opportunity for readers to trade in the stresses and realities of the day-to-day and replace them with other people, places and stories that are engaging and thought-provoking.

Friends-turned-business partners Fearless Cummings and Andile Mahlageni-Byndon wanted to bring that magic to Bellevue, Nebraska. And just like that, 2Dads and a Bookstore was born.

Cummings and Mahlageni-Byndon told KETV that the idea for the bookstore came after they realized their shared love of literature during a training session at their agency job.

“Since then, we became good friends, and ever since then everything just kind of took off,” Mahlageni-Byndon said.

After that, they started researching what it would take to open their business, and three months later, they opened 2Dads and a Bookstore.

“That took a lot of work,” Cummings recounted of opening the business in 90 days. “My guy had a lot of books, we found a place over in Bellevue and everything just kind of fell together.”

The founders hope their “cool” new bookstore provides customers a safe and relaxing environment to indulge in or discover a love of reading. They’re also committed to giving back to not only the community but local, up-and-coming authors.

“Our bookstore is very unique because we are probably one of the only few stores that give 100% of the revenue that the authors make back to them. We just want to give them a place, a platform where they can show their work to the community,” Mahlageni-Byndon said.

He added that 2Dads and a Bookstore is “not your typical quintessential bookstore. It’s a vibe.”

As Black fathers, both Cummings and Mahlageni-Byndon want to show young Black boys that reading is fun, cool and, most importantly, accessible to them.

“It’s just this beautiful dynamic between me and this guy, and we’re like, ‘You know what? We can tackle so many different issues in our community if we’re able to do this the right way,” Mahlageni-Byndon said.