A love of books has become a new business venture for two local moms.
Nestled inside Nolensville’s historic downtown corridor, The Nolensville Book Nook opened on July 31 and is now the only kid’s bookstore in the town.
Hundreds passed through the store during its recent grand opening event. Families and kids 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 come to support us, but some (of the people who stopped by were) were people in Nolensville that were just really excited, that we hadn’t met before,” co- owner Jessica Bates said.
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Bates, a writer, lives in Murfreesboro, but she’s been friends with co-owner Dr. Liz Kiilerich-Bowles, a longtime teacher and Nolensville resident, since their middle school days.
It was Kiilerich-Bowles’ idea to start a book store in Nolensville. And she drew from personal experience.
“As an educator for 15 years and a mom of three, (ages) 7 and under, I’ve seen the incredible impact of a good book—the lessons learned, the thoughtful conversations started, the connections made and the pure joy and excitement ,” Kiilerich-Bowles said.
As a writing group founder and self-published author, Bates immediately agreed.
“One way that I love to connect with anyone is through books and reading,” she said. “So I think fostering a love of reading early in a person’s life is so important and sets them up to be lifelong learners and readers.
The women began the store as a monthly pop-up in October 2021, setting up shop in local businesses like Town Barre and Mill Creek Brewery.
“We met lots of people who were so excited about a book store,” Bates said. “We were building a community of families who were curious and artistic and wanted more books, so we were looking for a brick-and-mortar. We knew that was our vision.”
When the opportunity to rent Southern Eatery’s lobby space opened up on July 11, it was go-time.
Serving a big need in Nolensville
Bates said she hopes The Nolensville Book Nook can become a community and an expansion of Nashville’s already present literary scene.
The co-owners have already developed a full calendar of programming, including Pre-K literacy, a bilingual English/Spanish storytime, Teen Creative Writing, a “Gameschool” meetup for homeschooling families, and more.
“We just want it to be another thing to go do,” Bates said. “That strip of Nolensville has so much history that it seems like there isn’t a lot of stuff for kids to do.”
They even have their “Grown Up Book Club” that’ll soon welcome local author Jeff Zentner for a talk.
Although Nolensville has a public library, offering residents books that they’ll be able to keep and pass down is a way for kids and families to develop with their books, just as the store’s motto, “Plant curiosity. Grow readers,” states.
Plus, it’s a place where families can go even with their smallest children, the owners stress.
“We want a place where parents, and especially mothers, can feel welcomed and like they can sit a while,” Bates said. “A place of belonging.”
The Nolensville Book Nook is the only bookstore for milesmeaning it’ll also help serve the several expansive, rural communities just south of town, where it’s not easy to access a library or the closest Barnes and Noble.
For people like Teresa Berryessa, a grandmother and resident of nearby Arrington, having the store make its debut in a long-standing building is priceless.
She used to take her now 30-plus-year-old son there when it was a general store, and he’d pick up a Peach Nehi soda after baseball practice.
She stopped by The Nolensville Book Nook and purchased a selection of books as gifts.
“Now, I have grandkids I can take to the store, so that will be great,” she said. “You can’t have enough books.
“We know that it’s so important for children to grow up in houses where there are a lot of books, so to have access just 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’re looking forward to making connections with and serving those like Berryessa.
“I am excited to share all of this and more with our amazing community of Nolensville,” Kiilerich-Bowles said. “Our store is a place where children and their families can be hands-on and explore our books in a comfortable setting made just for them.”
Visit The Nolensville Book Nook at 7301 Nolensville Rd, Nolensville, TN 3713. To see hours or operation or learn more about it, visit https://www.thenolensvillebooknook.com/.
Anika Exum is a reporter covering Williamson County at The Tennessean, part of the USA Today Network — Tennessee. Reach her her at email@example.com, 615-347-7313 or on Twitter @aniexum.
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