Her passion project was put on hold when she was deployed for six months, but when she came back, so did her followers, and that inspired her to follow her dream and expand her business.
Now that Nicolle is out of the Navy she’s opening her first brick-and-mortar store tucked behind Cultivate Jax in Riverside, and has one goal in mind.
“Our mission is to celebrate diversity and encourage reading for all. So we try to stock as many books written by women and people of color who have been historically marginalized in the publishing industry,” Nicolle told News4JAX.
And her story follows a national trend.
A recent New York Times report found that 300 new independent bookstores have popped up during the pandemic and the owners of those businesses are becoming more diverse in an industry that has been traditionally white.
“[In the New York Times story] those are Asian-American women-owned bookstores that are, you know, highlighting their culture and the people around them in their communities. And so, I hope that’s what I can bring to the community here in Jacksonville,” Nicolle said.
Nicolle is Filipino-American and made sure to have stories reflecting her heritage on the shelves, like “Halo Halo” by Filipino author Justine Ramos.
“Seeing that interaction of people like picking up a book and seeing themselves is just like, you just can’t really explain it,” Nicolle said.
On the shelves, you will find over 1,000 books, some of which are the same books that some parents have tried to remove from local school libraries, like “My Rainbow,” which features a Black transgender character.
“If you look at books that have been contested, they ended up being the number one bestseller on Amazon within hours. So there is, you know, an audience for people that do want these books,” Nicolle said.
Femme Fire Books is officially opening its doors on Saturday with an event that runs from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.
Nicolle stopped by The Morning Show on July 20 after the store opening to share her passion and let us know how things are going: