American author Anna Quindlen once stated, “Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination and the journey. They are home.” This is a beautiful explanation for the power that books hold, and why people find comfort in the nook of a bookstore. Whether it be glancing at a popular series, or discovering a genre out of your comfort zone, bookstores have always provided a space for the dreamers, the creatives and anyone who has a thirst for words. Nestled in the middle of a quiet street in Bayonne, The Little Boho Bookshop lives up to its name, both in the sense of its size and unique energy.
This week, I sat down with store owner Sandra Dear, to ask a few questions about her business experience, literary preferences and going digital. The Little Boho Bookshop is currently open for business and continues to share the beauty of books, despite the global tragedies. After all, words can lift spirits as much as anything else.
Can you provide a brief background of The Little Boho Bookshop and anything that should be known?
The Little Boho Bookshop first opened its doors on July 31, 2017, as a children’s bookstore. The community came out to support us on that day, and have been doing so ever since. At their request, we added books for adults two short months later, becoming a general interest bookstore. In March of 2020, we closed our doors to the public amid COVID-19 concerns. That same month, we moved our business from solely brick-and-mortar to include online sales with the launching of our website.
Up until June 21, we remained closed to the public. Humbled and buoyed by the support of the community, we were able to re-open our doors.
When did you decide to open a bookstore and why did you pursue that dream?
I’ve always wanted to open a children’s bookstore so in May of 2017, I finally made the decision to follow my dream. Two months later we opened our doors. Many long days and nights went into making it a reality.
What made you choose Bayonne, New Jersey to open a bookstore? How important is location when starting a business?
I moved east from San Diego, California to take a job in publishing in New York City. This town’s proximity to the city was my initial draw.
Location should be at the top of the list when thinking about opening a small business. It might be the single most important thing to consider. Market research is key. Find a need and fill it.
How did you create the name for your bookstore?
I found a quaint space, in a quaint section of town the existing merchants called Boho. We then created a logo, interior aesthetic, that evoked an artsy simplicity.
What have you learned from starting your own business and what advice would you give to future business owners?
If you are going to open a small business, be sure to do something that you truly love. The first few years will be hard, do not give up! Have courage and be kind!
What are your three most memorable books and why?
Noddy” by Enid Blyton — it started my love of reading
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho — a powerful and inspiring novel that reminds us that all that we need, our treasures, are within us.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou — it reminds us that with strength of character, you can overcome anything.
Do you have a favorite poet or poem? If so, which one?
“Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.