From winning a grant from the Brooklyn Public Library, to scouting locations and creating neighborhood buzz, the story of Greenlight Bookstore has been a page turner. Now, after more than two years, the independent bookseller will finally open on Saturday in the heart of Fort Greene.
Jessica Stockton Bagnulo’s dream of opening a bookstore — yes, some people still have that dream, apparently — began with a $15,000 grant from the library system in 2007, and has finally culminated in a bricks-and-mortar location on busy Fulton Street called Greenlight Bookstore.
Her location — in one of the borough’s most literary communities, close to the Brooklyn Academy of Music and far from any real competition, and with 10,000 titles in stock — could help her and co-owner Rebecca Fitting defy the dour trend in bookstores.
On one side of the large airy space at the busy corner of S. Portland Avenue there will be a section dedicated to the performing arts — fitting for a store that’s just five blocks from the BAM. A long, sunlit set of shelves at the front of the store will be dedicated to local authors, a group that has shown overwhelming support for the new independent store.
One of them, Brooklyn literary ace Jonathan Lethem, called the store personally to request a reading for his newest novel, “Chronic City” (see interview in GO Brooklyn this week) — before Bagnulo and her crew even began shelving.
The store’s fall roster is already filling with events like the Lethem reading, a panel of writers from the New York Review of Books on Nov. 18 and blogger/author pairings later in the month. It’s likely that book lovers will turn out in droves at such gatherings, but will they open their wallets?
Bagnulo is optimistic.
“In tough economic times, a book is a good small investment for anyone,” she said.
At least one person is interested in the bookstore’s opening. On Tuesday, while Bagnulo interrupted her shelve stocking to answer questions from a reporter, a stubbly man gazed longingly through the front window and asked, “Are you guys hiring?”
An opening party will be held on Oct. 24 featuring events for kids at 10 am and an adults-only party at 7 pm at Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. at S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246-0200]. For info, visit www.greenlightbookstore.com.