When Andrea Baca and Amy Covitz first met, they were co-workers at a local law firm. During their lunch breaks, they bonded over their shared love of books, music and movies. Eventually Covitz confessed her dream of opening a bookstore. After a few years of daydreaming, the duo finally ordered books and crafted a cocktail list.
Baca and Covitz will open Our Daily Nada (304 Delaware St.) in the River Market in mid-August.
“It was still just talk for a couple of years,” Covitz said. “But around two years ago we got serious and started taking a business class and trying to find money and the whole thing.”
In a time when most people buy books online, they decided adding food and drink to the bookstore’s offerings could help the business survive.
Covitz met Carlos Mortera while eating with her husband, Jeff, at Mortera’s restaurant, The Bite. Jeff was opening another River Market business, Houndstooth, at the time. The Bite quickly became one of the Covitz’s favorite restaurants, making Mortera an obvious choice for head chef of Our Daily Nada.
“He’s been super helpful and almost the best part of starting this business,” Covitz said.
Covitz and Baca want to create a space where people can connect over books and enjoy a cocktail. They want to foster a place for the conversations like the ones they originally bonded over during their lunch breaks.
The name of the store was inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted Place.” They always had Hemingway as an inspiration due to his Kansas City roots. The story also led to the first cocktail on the menu, a Hemingway Daiquiri. In the short story, the only way that an old man could escape his despair was by spending time in a clean, well-lit café.
We look at this place as like a haven, or a light, to escape what’s going on in the world, and that’s what the story is about,” Covitz said.
Covitz and Baca said they have had some push back on the name of the store. Some wanted something shorter or easier to understand for marketing purposes, but the founders felt the name fit with their mission.
“The whole point of this store is not to shorten things down to one sentence or a pitch. It’s to make people slow down and be able to have conversations. So we are sticking to the name,” Covitz said.
They don’t plan to compete with the immense collections of Barnes & Noble or other large stores, but will focus on lesser-known, unique books. Collections of new fiction, art, architecture and cooking will fill the shelves. Instead of a typical classics section, the store will showcase overlooked classics.
To create an engaging and active environment, they hope to partner with local businesses, hold book clubs and even have small musical performances. In addition to having children’s story time, Our Daily Nada will also host adult story time, or staged book readings for adults.
“A boozy story time,” the two laughed.
“It’s an opportunity, for me, of a lifetime to build something where we can connect with people,” Baca said.
“And surround ourselves with books and ideas,” Covitz said.
Meg Vatterott is a recent graduate from the University of Missouri with a degree in Documentary Journalism.