With donations from Queens community, residents will open a new bookstore in Kew Gardens

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Updated on May 16, 4:40 p.m.

After raising more than $70,000 from Queens residents who were hungry for a bookstore once several Barnes & Noble locations closed, the women behind the Queens Bookshop Initiative have finally found a permanent home.

Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem, employees at the former Barnes & Noble in Forest Hills, announced on May 12 that after months of searching, the trio has found a storefront on Lefferts Boulevard in Kew Gardens.

“After an extensive, and at times grueling, search … we have finally found the storefront for our bookstore!” they wrote on their Kickstarter page. “We have fallen completely in love with our cozy new place right on Lefferts Blvd and we hope you will love it just as much.”

The new store will be located at 81-63 Lefferts Blvd., according to Nikodem, who said the group looked at 10 to 15 places before they decided on this location. They have not officially released the name of the shop yet.

Now that they have found a location, the group will have to furnish the shop and order books. They are asking for artists to help design a logo and a mural for the kid’s section. You can send your ideas to info[at]thequeensbookshop.com.

“All of you have been so supportive and encouraging and we couldn’t have gotten this far without you,” the Kickstarter page said.

Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem

Nikodem said she expects it would take about two months to build out the store and anticipates opening some time in August “if there are no bumps in the road.”

The bookshop will feature new releases, classic titles and books from local authors. The group will also focus on having a strong children’s section to promote literacy and will host events including author signings, poetry readings, children’s story times and crafting workshops.

Queens residents were disappointed when Barnes & Noble locations in Fresh Meadows, Bayside and Forest Hills closed down. Currently, the only bookstore selling new books in the borough is The Astoria Bookshop. Last week, Book Culture, a shop that has locations in Manhattan, announced it would be opening up a location in Long Island City sometime before Thanksgiving.


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