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Congrats to Jessica Stockton Bagnulo

During her time at Three Lives, McNally Robinson, and now the wholesaler BookStream, Jessica has become one of the most knowledgeable booksellers out there. She’s the posterchild for the American Booksellers Association’s Emerging Leaders Program (which exists to “retain, develop, and support the industry’s future innovators and leaders” withing bookselling) and has always had plans of opening her own bookstore in Brooklyn.

Well, last week she won the PowerUP! Business Plan Competition sponsored by Citigroup Foundation and the Brooklyn Public Library’s Business Library, receiving $15,000 to go towards her goal of opening a store.

She has a complete write-up of the ceremony at her blog, including some info on her future plans:

There will be a lot of details to work through — where and how to receive and deposit the money, how to use this as leverage to get additional grants and loans. To be fair, it’s less than a tenth of what I’ve calculated I’ll need. But it’s fifteen thousand dollars more than I had before, not to mention the $5,000 in in-kind gifts: consulting services, marketing services, a Chamber of Commerce membership, even a gift certificate to Bogota. And perhaps more importantly, the experts of the Brooklyn Business Library think my plan is viable — is the MOST viable, out of all the ones they’ve seen. Kathleen, the Citibank rep responsible for creating the contest and the head judge, told me that it was my presentation that made the difference — that the judges were skeptical about the wisdom of opening an independent bookstore given all they’d heard, but I sold them on the idea with my data and my passion.

Not to get too sentimental, but Jessica’s pretty awesome—if for nothing else than what she did to promote Mark Binelli’s Sacco and Vanzetti Must Die!—and I really hope she’s able to parlay this into all the funding necessary to launch her own store. If there’s anyone out there who’s taken all the right steps, done all the right research to ensuring a break-even business like a bookstore will work, it’s Jessica.



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