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Three former Barnes & Noble employees to open book shop in Kew Gardens

Barnes & Noble on Austin Street closed 18 months ago

May 16, 2017 By Jason Cohen

Three women are opening a bookstore in Kew Gardens after raising more than $70,000 on kickstarter to see their dream become a reality.

The women, all former employees of the now-shuttered Barnes & Noble on Austin Street, have not yet revealed where the bookstore will actually be, just stating that it will be on Lefferts Boulevard near the Kew Gardens Cinemas and The Potter’s Wheel.

The owners, Vina Castillo, Natalie Noboa and Holly Nikodem, announced on their Kickstarter page: “After an extensive, and at times grueling, search … we have finally found the storefront for our bookstore! 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 women have pedigree in the book retailing business. Castillo and Noboa have about five years of bookselling/managerial experience, while Nikodem has two years as bookstore manager and 10 years in retail management.

The women said on their Kickstarter page that they felt compelled to open a book shop when Barnes & Noble closed nearly 18 months ago. They said that even in this technologically driven era people still love books. So, they created a kickstarter campaign under the Queens Bookshop Initiative name, which has raised $72,360.

“While we have libraries, owning your own book collection from a young age…is an experience that cannot be replicated,” they said on their kick starter page.

“The three of us were fortunate enough to grow up choosing books because we could. Others can’t. We want to bring the opportunity we had to love bookstores to the people of Queens and have it be around the block.”

With a location selected, the trio are in the process of revamping the space and purchasing books. They are asking for artists to help them design a store logo, while also paint a mural for the kid’s section. Ideas can be sent to info[at]

The Queens Bookshop Initiative, which will become The Queens Bookshop when the trademark is finalized, will feature new releases, classic titles and books from local authors. It will also host events, including author signings, poetry readings, children’s story times and crafting workshops.

The only bookstore in Queens is The Astoria Bookshop, but last week, it was announced that Book Culture, a popular shop in Manhattan, will be expanding into Long Island City.

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