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Bronx Indie Bookstore and Wine Bar Is a Finalist in Startup Competition

By Angely Mercado | August 9, 2016 4:58pm
 A bookstore like this is becoming more and more of a possibility in the South Bronx.
A bookstore like this is becoming more and more of a possibility in the South Bronx.
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Getty Images/Spencer Platt

Noëlle Santos, the driving force behind The Lit Bar, is one step closer to making the potential indie bookstore and wine bar in the South Bronx a reality. 

Santos recently announced on her blog that she is a finalist in New York StartUP! Business Plan Competition, which is organized by the New York Public Library. If she wins, she could get up to $15,000 for her bookstore. 

Entrepreneurs who entered the competition received guidance and "resources and guidance from experts in the field," for writing a business plan, Amy Geduldig, a spokeswoman for the NYPL, told DNAinfo New York. Out of the hundreds of businesses who entered, 10, including Santos, were named finalists and invited to present to a panel about their idea.

"I'll be standing in front of a mirror, talking into a hair brush, with a timer nearby to make sure I get it all into 10 minutes," Santos wrote in an email to DNAinfo about her presentation on Tuesday.

She will also get 10 minutes to answer questions from the panel.

Five winners will be announced on Sept. 12. Until then Santos says that it's a waiting game, one that she'll fill with continuing to plan for The Lit Bar. 

"I’m going to look at two more spaces this week, get into crowd funding mode, and I’m going to get some rest, that’s what I’m going to do this week," she said. 

Santos will be visiting one of the potential locations a few hours after giving her presentation. She also expects to launch a crowd funding page by the end of September, and is already thinking about the giveaways she'll use to entice donors. 

"Our perks will be books, maybe Bronx artwork," she said. 

To make up any other gaps in funding, Santos is considering a crowd lending campaign. She was inspired by Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn which used asked community groups and community members to loan it money so that it could open two new locations earlier this year. The loans are then repaid with interest when the store begins to turn a profit.

Santos said her goal is to raise $160,000 to $200,000 to open The Lit Bar as a fully functional shop. 

Despite these additional funding plans, she still wants to win the StartUP! Business Plan Competition and hopes the panelists will see her passion for the bookstore.

"I want them to know that they giving their vote for the Lit Bar in the competition is more than a vote for me and my personal dreams and aspirations," she said. "They’re voting for The Bronx and they’re voting for us to end those stigmas that we don’t have intellectuals here."