Around 2014, I met a woman named Noelle Santos on the internet. Neither of us can recall exactly how we “met,” but we both recall Noelle contacting me through Snapchat, asking for advice around an idea she had to bring a bookstore to the Bronx, where none existed at the time. At the time, Noelle was working a cushy, corporate job on Wall Street, earning six-figures and putting her accounting degree to good use. She was comfortable, but after seeing a petition on Facebook to urge her local congress members to build a bookstore in the Bronx after the last Barnes & Noble went out of business, she became extremely uncomfortable.
The Bronx is a borough of 1.5 million people and ten colleges, and also Noelle’s hometown, where she currently lives. Furious and frustrated, she signed the petition, but immediately decided she wasn’t about to wait for the politics to align to get her bookstore. And in that moment, she got to work.
I sat down with Noelle recently at The Lit Bar, the bookstore/wine bar she built herself from the ground-up five years later after crowdfunding support and a whole lot of hustle. As we sipped on our wine (she had a Cab, I had a Chardonnay), we reminisced on those earlier conversations we had as she was rallying to get the store created. We talked about the importance of choosing yourself to get things done. We talked about the criticism she’s faced despite her good intentions, and the daily challenges that arise while embarking on a brand-new industry.
Get ready for this empowering conversation!
Read more about Noelle in my new book, Girl on Fire!