Following the recent and controversial closing of Baychester's Barnes & Noble, the only remaining bookstore in The Bronx, a champion for literacy and access has emerged.

With the rising prices that have come with the rapid gentrification of the borough, the bookstore was forced to close, and will be replaced by a Saks Off 5th. This news was met with obvious outrage— "We can’t even afford Saks clothing," one Bronx resident told The New York Times.

South Bronx native Noëlle Santos, who had been actively protesting against the closure of the single general interest bookstore, is taking matters into her own hands.

Her mission: open an indie bookstore called The Lit. Bar, providing the borough's 1.4 million residents access to literature without having to leave The Bronx.

So far, she's off to a great start. Santos recently won second place in New York Public Library's New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition, netting her a $7,500 prize.

She also 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.

Despite all this success, there is still a long way to go before  The Lit. Bar becomes a brick-and-mortar store. Santos has started a Indiegogo Fundraising Campaign to help reach her goal of $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. 

“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.”

Follow Noëlle's progress on her blog! Let's hope the Bronx gets lit(-erary) rull soon. 

[via Curbed New York] [Feature Image Courtesy dna info]