South Bronx native Noëlle Santos is doing more than her due diligence to see to it that an independent bookstore makes its way into the Bronx—and soon. Following the recent shuttering of Baychester’s Barnes and Noble bookstore, there isn’t a single general interest bookstore that the borough’s 1.4 million residents can go to without having to leave the Bronx. After protesting to no avail to keep the store from shuttering, Santos has shifted her mission and is now seeking to remediate the borough’s lack of bookstores by opening one of her own.
Her vision is to open up an indie bookstore named The Lit Bar, where adults can enjoy reading sessions complemented by wine tasting as well as a children’s corner with programs for her younger guests.
Santos has already made several strides in bringing her dream closer to reality. Her business plan won second place in NYPL’s New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition, netting her a $7,500 prize (h/t DNAinfo). Following that achievement, she launched a holiday pop-up shop at the Bronx Museum of the Arts where she ranked #1 in sales out of all of the participating vendors.
While her achievements to date are accomplishments worth being proud of, there is still a ways to go before The Lit Bar is actualized into a real brick-and-mortar store, which is why Santos has launched an Indeigogo fundraising campaign in hopes of raising at least $100,000.
“I am asking my fellow lovers of lit to raise $100,000, which represents a third of The Lit. Bar's total start-up budget. The money not only helps fund the initial inventory and technology costs, but serves as proof-of-concept/demand to prospective property owners and lenders,” says Santos. With more than $11,000 in donations so far, she’s off to a great start but still has a long way to go. “The Bronx gave you hip hop, salsa, JLo, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and Batman, now WE NEED YOUR HELP to build a home for our strong literary community,” she wittingly writes in her campaign plea.