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Little Bus Books, which debuted in 2021 as a mobile-only bookseller, will soon have a storefront location inside The Nectary, a plant nursery specializing in Florida natives at 1047 E. Main St.
Little Bus Books is run by the Pippen family, including Lynsey, Michael, Luke and Nolan. They run a small bookstore out of a vintage RV, and frequently set up at local markets.
The store will operate from a small room inside The Nectary, where they will sell mid-century-themed books, similar to the mobile operation.
Currently, the mobile bookshop camper will be open select hours outside the building until the new space is complete. Grand opening is set for March.
Customers can check store hours on the bookshop’s social media, but Lynsey Pippen adds their hours will closely resemble The Nectary hours, which are Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Once the storefront location opens, she said, customers will be able to shop at the mobile bookshop and storefront on most Saturdays.
The company prides itself on its diverse and inclusive book selection. The mobile bookshop also sells books by local authors and has a local artist bookmark selection.
The new storefront allows Little Bus Books to expand its non-profit initiative, “No Covers Free Mobile Bookshop.” Little Bus Books partners with non-profit organizations across Polk County, such as VISTE, Talbot House Ministries and Pace Center for Girls, to give away books to families and people who have limited access to libraries or bookstores. Little Bus Books also refills Little Free Libraries across the city.
“The ultimate goal is to combine the two aspects as a non-profit bookstore. We hope that our storefront will provide more consistent hours for customers to shop our unique book selections, streamline donation logistics, and open community volunteer opportunities,” Lynsey Pippen said.
The storefront will also serve as a donation drop-off site and allow for volunteers to help sort the books.
“Finding a location that could also be shared as a store was a practical decision for having the ability to simultaneously run the retail and non-profit initiative of our business,” Pippen said.
Pippen met the owner of The Nectary, Kathryn Adeney, while participating in a market during the Bonnet Springs Park grand opening weekend.
Pippen said she had a display about Florida-based books, which sparked Adeney’s interest.
“Kathryn mentioned that she was interested in curating a book selection for her store and we offered to assist with the process. A meeting at The Nectary regarding book selections turned into a discussion about the availability of indoor store space due to most of the native Florida plant nursery experience being within the outdoor space,” Pippen said, adding they decided it would be a great partnership due to their shared visions of business practices and how their products complement each other.
Pippen said once the storefront opens, customers will see a decrease in weekday market availability due to their expanded hours at the store.
In January and February, the Little Bus Books mobile bookshop plans to be at Downtown Lakeland Farmers Curb Market, the Winter Haven Farmers Market, Haven Coffee Roasters and Indie Flea.
Little Bus Books will participate in the 2nd Annual Lakeland Book Crawl, an event whose dates have not been publicized yet..
Adeney opened The Nectary with Michelle Sylvester as a booth at the Downtown Lakeland Farmers Curb Market in the summer of 2019. They opened the retail location that fall.
Sylvester has since moved to Jackson, Miss., but Adeney continues to run the shop. A Vero Beach native, Adeney initially wondered why it was challenging to find a wide variety of native plants in local nurseries. That’s what propelled her to open The Nectary, hoping to make native Florida plants more accessible to homeowners.
“The homeowners who shop with us often want less lawn, and more wildlife-friendly “backyard habitats. We stock a wide variety of wildflowers, shrubs, and small trees that are well-suited to our local conditions and will provide food and shelter for our local birds, bees, and butterflies,” said Kathryn Adeney, adding that her best seller is the native milkweed, which is the host plant for monarch butterflies.
Other popular plants sold in The Nectary are Firebush, American Beautyberry, native passion vines, and Red Salvia, Adeney said. According to Adeney, the native plants support the local food web and thrive in our soil and climate.
“The plants we sell serve a purpose beyond looking pretty,” Adeney said. “Native plants also add seasonal interest and help landowners feel truly connected to their physical place in the world.”
Adeney said they source their plants from growers across the state, many of whom are members of the Florida Association of Native Nurseries.
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