Today’s news:

Bookworms: Grant was her dream, now she faces reality

The Brooklyn Paper

Book-lovers from Fort Greene and Clinton Hill to the South Slope and Ditmas Park are wooing, begging, in fact, beseeching the recent winner of a Brooklyn Public Library prize to enact her grant-winning bookshop proposal in their neighborhoods.

Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, 29, has found herself in an unexpected position ever since she won the “Power Up! Business Plan Competition,” a $15,000 award created to help small businesspeople make their dreams a reality.

And reality has come in the form of hundreds of e-mails and calls.

“[There’s been more requests] than I could easily count,” said Bagnulo. “Fort Greene has been very vocal. [But I’ve also heard] from Ditmas Park, Greenpoint, and a couple of people in South Park Slope.”

It’s easy to understand their enthusiasm, given that Bagnulo’s plan calls for a general-interest bookstore, a cafe and a wine bar. What could be better than reading Jonathan Lethem with a Cote du Rhone? Or checking your e-mail on free Wi-Fi while enjoying a bagel?

The larger goal is to avoid failing — like so many bookstores have this past year.

“[The ones in Park Slope that closed] were not necessarily welcoming spaces,” Bagnulo said. “Plus, rents in the Slope are higher.”

Bagnulo, 29, has worked in bookstores, so she knows what customers want. But so do her would-be customers.

“We desperately need a bookstore in our neighborhood, especially considering all the literary and creative types here,” Emily Takoudes, a HarperCollins editor, wrote to Bagnulo.

On Bagnulo’s blog, www. writtennerd.blogspost.com, another book-lover pleaded, “Please consider setting up your shop in Ditmas Park — there are so many book-lovers here and no bookstores!”

However will she decide?

“It will be a combination of finding a space that’s affordable — the profit margin in a bookstore is pretty thin, and it will need to have good walking traffic,” said Bagnulo. “I want to be in a neighborhood that needs a bookstore and can support a bookstore. Somewhere in between a really affluent neighborhood and the opposite of a very affluent neighborhood.”

Stay tuned.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links