32-Year-Old Noëlle Santos Opens First Ever Book Store in the Bronx

Noëlle Santos
© J.C. Rice

Noëlle Santos had never stepped foot in an independent book store before she decided to open her own.

That dream turned into a reality on Saturday when The Lit Bar became the Bronx’s one and only bookstore.

“Thank you for opening your hearts and helping me show the world what many fail to see — that the Bronx is no longer burning except with desire to read,” said a giddy Santos at the grand opening for the store on Alexander Avenue in Mott Haven.

The 32-year-old Hunts Point resident started her literary quest back in 2014 when she signed a petition to save what was then the borough’s only bookstore, a Barnes & Noble in Co-op City.

“It was inaccessible. There was no train to Co-op City,” Santos said. “I didn’t go there until I was 23.”

Two years later, she won Citi Foundation’s statewide business plan competition to start an indie bookstore of her own.

That same year, the Bronx Barnes & Noble was shuttered.

So Santos jumped into high gear, launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise more than $170,000.

“I didn’t know owning a bookstore was a real job,” she said, admitting that she’s now earning a quarter of her previous six-figure salary working in human resources and accounting.

But book lovers in the borough are thrilled.

Hundreds came to The Lit Bar’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for a first look at the literary smorgasbord.

“I feel excited, overwhelmed today and even a little emotional,” said Argelia Ortiz, a 50-something Bronx native.

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SOURCE: The New York Post, Dana Schuster and Georgett Roberts