Westchester's Most Innovative Businesses: NoKa Joe’s and Little Joe’s Books in Katonah

Reviving The Local Bookstore, With a Twist

To survive as a local business, a proprietor has to offer what the community wants and needs, says NoKa Joe’s owner Jennifer Cook, who in October 2011 launched a children’s book store, Little Joe’s Books, on the top floor of her already successful coffee shop. “For years customers have asked me to start a bookstore in my upstairs space,” Cook says. “I always said no, but then the Borders of Mount Kisco went out of business. There was no bookstore within twenty minutes of this community, and I knew I had a small window of opportunity to build a unique children’s bookstore here.”

And? Cook has seen NoKa’s core coffee sales increase 35 percent since her new concept began. “That’s amazing because coffee is a very flat business,” she says. “Coffee is not a destination business, but bookstores are, so I have customers driving twenty minutes in for the bookstore and staying for a cup of coffee.”