Curious Cup, a kids bookstore in Carpinteria, celebrated its grand opening this Saturday. The event included live band performances, book signings, henna and face painting, as well as tarot card readings.
The store proudly displays the photography and art of local students, ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to high school. Artwork of children from the Bellas Artes outreach program is also featured. According to storeowner Kiona Gross, the bookstore aims to serve as a community space, where local residents can showcase their talent.
“It’s nice to have something to give back to the community. [We] want to do a lot for the community and be community based,” said Gross.
In the spirit of keeping it local, Gross invited area authors to the event, including Thalia Chaltas, Pete Umoff, and Valerie Hobbs.
While Curious Cup has been officially opened to the public since January 13, with the ribbon cutting ceremony held on January 26, Saturday’s opening party drew a large crowd. Gross felt that the event was a bigger success than she had anticipated.
“[I’m] blown away. I wanted a big party – something for the community,” said Gross.
The crowd was also amazed by the attendance. “It’s surprising that the bookstore is doing so well. I’m impressed with the turnout,” said San Jose resident Bob Scheerer, who attended the event with his grandchildren.
The kids appeared to be having a blast as well. “They love it. [It’s] a cool little scene – they’re digging it. In fact, I can’t get them to leave,” said Stephanie Stone.
The store seems to have opened its doors in a surprisingly fortunate time, with the closing of two major Santa Barbara bookstores – Borders and Barnes & Noble. In fact, Gross purchased the Curious Cup bookshelves directly from the Borders store, at a discounted price. While Gross admits the opening came at a lucky time, especially considering Carpinteria’s lack of a local bookstore, she still feels that it is a sad time for the book business.
“It’s been amazing. People are so excited to have a bookstore here,” said Gross.
The store features more than just children books, including a Spanish section as well as adult fiction, graphic novels, and independent books.