Bronx residents are one step closer to welcoming a bookstore back to their borough.
Bronxite Noëlle Santos has been working to open an independent bookstore, called Lit Bar, in the borough, and her online fundraising campaign for the project, which had gained the support of celebrities including Michael Moore and Chris Hayes, recently surpassed its $100,000 goal.
"So what that means for me is that I’m sleeping and eating now," Santos said.
Santos had set up a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo called "Let's Bring a Goddamn Bookstore to The Bronx!" and the effort had raised $108,634 as of Monday afternoon, with 20 days still remaining.
She was thrilled that the campaign had already surpassed its goal and said the money would be extremely helpful in terms of being able to actually open the bookstore.
Santos estimates she will need about $300,000 in total to launch the store and plans to obtain the remaining money through bank loans and her personal savings.
Once the fundraising campaign is officially over, she will focus her energy on finding a location for the store.
"As soon as the campaign ends, I will get aggressive about finding a lease," she said. "I’m still focusing my efforts on Hunts Point and Mott Haven, somewhere near a train where it’s nice and accessible."
The Bronx has been without a major bookstore since the Barnes & Noble in the Mall at Bay Plaza closed at the end of 2016, and although elected officials have vowed that the store will return to the borough after adjusting its business plan, this is still likely one to two years away.
Santos plans to have The Lit Bar open by the end of 2017 and is already thinking about hiring more people to help her with the undertaking.
"I can no longer do this by myself," she said. "I’m buried under, like, 300 emails. It’s crazy."