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Saturday, March 23 , 2019, 8:25 am | A Few Clouds 46º

 
 
 
 

Curious Cup Bookstore Pops Up for Holidays

The Carpinteria store specializing in children’s books reopens on Santa Claus Lane, and owner Kiona Gross hopes it remains into the new year

Holiday shoppers flipped through shelves filled with adult fiction, journals and eclectic gifts while Kiona Gross smiled and happily hurried to answer questions.

Keeping busy is a blessing for the Curious Cup Bookstore owner, who this month reopened a pop-up shop version of the Carpinteria children’s bookstore she has closed twice in less than two years because of tougher economic times.

Gross thinks of the temporary shop at 3817½ Santa Claus Lane as her own holiday miracle — one she hopes will remain open into the new year.

“Keeping books in kids’ hands is all that matters to me,” she said. “This is the first thing we found we could afford."

Owning a bookstore has taught Gross a thing or two about survival.

She opened Curious Cup four years ago in a highly visible downtown Carpinteria storefront at 929 Linden Ave.

When rent became too expensive to bear in October 2013, Gross moved Curious Cup into the back of Carpinteria Toy Company at 5285 Carpinteria Ave., four blocks away.

Teaming up with toy company owner Sarah Hinton, the two small-business owners attempted to split rent and utility costs and to capitalize by offering their children-themed products under the same roof while operating separately.

That dream ended in June, when someone else bought the toy store and Gross had to close.

Gross opened the pop-up shop in the hallway that leads to a bathroom between Hawthorn and Reed Floors at Padaro Beach during Carpinteria’s Holiday on the Lane event two weeks ago.

Hearing the faint whir of a hand dryer hasn’t been ideal, but Curious Cup regulars have managed to find the place. 

“It’s the bathroom aisle!” one customer said on a recent afternoon.

Gross is offering a limited selection of adult fiction, cookbooks, travel books, how-to guides for gardening, local floral and fauna and more.

Her lease is through Dec. 31, but Gross is hopeful she might be able to stay open longer.

She’s been working other part-time jobs since summer, and the ultimate goal would be to be able to open the shop as needed on the side or to order books for customers.

“The idea is to have books in Carpinteria — and new books,” Gross said. “We’re selling. People are starting to find us.”

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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