PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A local bookstore and community space are expanding with the help of grant funding from the City of Peoria.

Lit. on Fire Books on West Main Street is a recent recipient of a RISE grant. RISE stands for recovery, income, start-up, and expansion. It’s funded by federal American Rescue Plan dollars.

The grant program is designed to help Peoria businesses and start-ups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lit. on Fire Books is using the money to expand into the building next door and create more space for work and customers.

“I started with nothing in a 256 square-foot studio space, and ever since I have sacrificed pretty much any pay and put every single penny back into growing and making Lit better for everyone in the community. This grant money makes it possible for me to do this with style,” said Jessica Stephenson, owner/operator of Lit. on Fire Books.

The bookstore has been closed over recent weeks, due to renovations. Stephenson said she hopes to hold a soft re-opening next week.

Lit. on Fire Books is also partnering with their neighbor, My Writing Shed, which is also expected to hold a soft launch this month.

My Writing Shed will be a space for local writers to create, and share their experiences and work with others. A pay-what-you-can membership will begin in December.