BUSINESS | The LIT. Bar | Empowering the Bronx with books, wine and sophistication

Noëlle Santos, a Bronx native, book lover, and entrepreneur is on a mission to bring books back to the Bronx. Noelle is the owner of an indie bookstore and wine bar, named The Lit. Bar. “I’m all about my borough. My family migrated from Puerto Rico to the Bronx. I was born and raised in the Bronx, got my bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees in the Bronx. I grew up with parents who were readers, and I always had access to books and education and social circles that gave me certain opportunities. I lived in this bubble, and my experience growing up in the Bronx was very different than it was for people growing up just right next door.”

Santos took 2nd place in the New York Public Library’s New York StartUP! Business Competition in 2016, she won a prize of $7,500. Also, filmmaker Michael Moore donated $5,000 to Santos’ campaign, helping her reach her goal to start her own business. The Lit. Bar opened its doors on April 27, 2019 (National Indie Bookstore Day) and is currently the only bookstore serving the 1.5 million people of the Boogie Down Bronx. “Our venue encourages curious readers and welcomes literary and community gatherings—while our wine bar connects the great pastimes of social sipping and introverted reading. What better way to loosen our tongues and talk about the books we love? We offer a carefully curated selection of general interest books, gift items, and programming which emphasize local interest and diversity for all ages”. 

Her courage and fight to be successful is an inspiration to all people, especially those in her neighborhood. What is even more powerful is that when she believed in herself, the rest of the world followed. Sometimes all it takes is faith, and effort to create your dreams. Let her story give you hope in your business ventures, and no matter how long it takes….Keep going.

“I want to empower my community,” Santos said. “The wine, and the chandelier and graffiti mixed theme that I’m gonna have in the store is symbolism of sophistication. I want [people in my community] to know that they’re worth this. I think its important for our businesses to reflect progression. This goes a lot further than just bringing books to the hood.”

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