Monticello, Ill. (WCIA)
Piatt County native, Nicole Stewart, always dreamed of opening her own bookshop, but was never sure if that dream would come to fruition in the near future.
“For a long time it was when I retire, when I have time.. then I’ll do this just for fun,” Stewart told ciLiving Storyteller, Erin Valle.
But when Stewart enrolled in the Monticello Boot Camp program for small businesses, she learned her dream would become a reality.
“The more I learned about the resources that were available and the support that existed for small businesses in this community, the more people I met who were enthusiastic about the idea and offered to help and support,” says Stewart.
The program awarded Stewart with a grant to kickstart her business journey and before she knew it, Stewart was opening the doors to Hartfield Book Company, her very own bookstore located in downtown Monticello.
“The thing that was most important to me was that I wanted this bookstore to feel distinctly like Monticello and to feel like it was naturally was part of our community and reflected something about who we are,” Steward says.
The store’s name comes from Emma, one of Stewart’s favorite Jane Austen novels. Hartfield is the manor where Emma and her father live. The estate boasts a central fireplace where the characters often cozy up and chat.
And coziness is certainly a focus of Hartfield Book Company.
Stewart keeps her inventory on the smaller side in order to make sure her selection of books is well curated. She wants guests to feel welcome and also makes a point to write “shelf talkers” or handwritten note cards with personalized recommendations for visitors.
“I feel increasingly lucky to be on the receiving end of support from people in this community,” says Stewart.
CURBSIDE PICK-UP HOURS
TUESDAY 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
THURSDAY 2:00 PM – 6:00 PM
FRIDAY 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM