KEW GARDENS — A team of booksellers working to open their own independent shop in the wake of Barnes & Noble's closure are offering specialty gifts as rewards for an online fundraiser to help make their dream a reality.
The three women behind the push — Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem — met while working at the now-shuttered Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills. After the store closed down, they decided to move forward with a plan to open an independent shop in Queens, they said.
They're putting up their own money for a lot of it but are hoping a $70,000 Kickstarter can help with inventory and other necessary items.
So far they've gotten more than $22,000 towards their goal, with new rewards each week. The fundraiser runs until June.
"From the start we've had the support of the community which is amazing, they're really excited," Vina Castillo said. "We're trying to keep it fresh every week."
QNSMADE has donated merchandise, as well as literary groups and local authors.
Their dream is to create an independent shop — similar to Astoria Bookshop — that will also be a gathering place for every literary-minded Queens resident.
They have their eyes on a few spaces for the final location, narrowing the search down to Kew Gardens and Forest Hills, Castillo said.
"Queens has a strong literary community with little to bring them together," the organizers wrote on their site.
"We have lost the space where children can go for storytime, where local writers can share their work, and where you can meet your new favorite book or new best friend."