A love of books has become a new business venture for two local moms.
Nestled in the historic corridor of downtown Nolensville, The Nolensville Book Nook opened on July 31 and is now the only children’s bookstore in town.
Hundreds of people passed by the store during its recent grand opening. Families and children flocked to shelves filled with colorful books, looking for classics and new pieces to add to their home collections.
“We had, of course, a lot of friends and family who came out to support us, but some (of the people who stopped by were) people from Nolensville who were really excited, who we had never met before “, co-owner Jessica Bates said.
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Bates, a writer, lives in Murfreesboro, but has been friends with co-owner Dr. Liz Kiilerich-Bowles, a longtime teacher and Nolensville resident, since their college days.
It was Kiilerich-Bowles’ idea to start a bookstore in Nolensville. And she was inspired by her personal experience.
“As an educator for 15 years and a mother of three children, (aged) 7 and under, I have seen the incredible impact of a good book – the lessons learned, the thoughtful conversations started, the connections made and pure joy and excitement,” Kiilerich-Bowles said.
As the founder of a writing group and self-published author, Bates immediately agreed.
“One of the ways I love to connect with anyone is through books and reading,” she said. “So I think it’s so important to foster a love of reading early in a person’s life and prepare them to be lifelong learners and readers.
The women started the store as a monthly pop-up in October 2021, moving into local businesses like Town Barre and Mill Creek Brewery.
“We met a lot of people who were so excited about a bookstore,” Bates said. “We were building a community of curious, artistic families who wanted more books, so we were looking for a brick and mortar. We knew that was our vision.”
When the opportunity to lease Southern Eatery’s lobby space opened up on July 11, it was time.
Meeting a great need in Nolensville
Bates said she hopes The Nolensville Book Nook can become a community and an expansion of Nashville’s already-existing book scene.
The co-owners have already developed a full schedule of programming, including preschool literacy, a bilingual English/Spanish story hour, Teen Creative Writing, a “Gameschool” meetup for homeschooled families, and more.
“We just want it to be another thing to do,” Bates said. “This Nolensville strip has so much history that it doesn’t seem like there’s a whole lot for the kids to do.”
They even have their “Grown Up Book Club” which will soon host local author Jeff Zentner for a talk.
Although Nolensville has a public library, providing residents with books they can keep and pass on is a way for children and families to grow with their books, much like the store’s motto, “Plant Curiosity. Cultivate readers,” says.
In addition, it is a place where families can go even with their youngest children, the owners point out.
“We want a place where parents, and especially mothers, can feel welcome and be able to sit down for a while,” Bates said. “A place to belong.”
The Nolensville Book Nook is the only bookstore for milesmeaning it will also help serve several large rural communities just south of the city, where it’s not easy to get to a library or the nearest Barnes and Noble.
For people like Teresa Berryessa, a grandmother and resident of nearby Arrington, getting her start in a longtime building is priceless.
She used to take her 30-plus-year-old son there when it was a general store, and he’d have a Peach Nehi soda after baseball practice.
She stopped at the Nolensville Book Nook and bought a selection of books as gifts.
“Now I have grandkids that I can take to the store, so that will be great,” she said. “You can’t have enough books.
“We know it’s so important for kids to grow up in homes where there are lots of books, so to have access right here locally with local people that you can get to know and be part of their programs. .. It’s a treasure.”
Bates and Kiilerich-Bowles said they look forward to connecting with and serving people like Berryessa.
“I am thrilled to share all of this and more with our amazing Nolensville community,” said Kiilerich-Bowles. “Our store is a place where children and their families can discover our books in a comfortable environment designed especially for them.”
Visit The Nolensville Book Nook at 7301 Nolensville Rd, Nolensville, TN 3713. To see hours or operation or learn more, visit https://www.thenolensvillebooknook.com/.
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