Home PeopleHoboken Girl of the Week Hoboken Girl{s} of the Week: Donna + Kate of Little City Books

Hoboken Girl{s} of the Week: Donna + Kate of Little City Books

by Briana
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Sometimes at Hoboken Girl we get lucky enough to feature two awesome women at once for our Hoboken Girl of the Week series — and this is one of those weeks. Introducing Donna Garban and Kate Jacobs, owners of Little City Books in Hoboken, a three-year-old bookstore in Hoboken that features a wide range of subjects for both adults and kids. The store also hosts author readings, live music, book fairs, and story time + music classes for babies and toddlers. Read on to learn more about the faces behind our neighborhood bookstore, Little City Books:

kate donna little city books

On What Inspires Them

Other beloved bookstores, past and present, inspire us. The great bookstores of our lives are magical, transformative places and we aspire to be that for the residents of Hoboken.

Goals + Passions

Our goal for the year is to gain a percentage point in our tiny profit margin. We want to reach everyone in town and have commercial viability fund more philanthropic literacy efforts. We also want to find a small affordable uptown space for a satellite shop.

A Typical Day in the Life

Typical days involve a wide range of tasks from the drudgery to the delightful. Generally online work is not the most fun but necessary — paying bills, doing promotion, fielding lots of emails with requests of all kinds. We also spend hours every month going through all the publishers’ catalogs for coming seasons — a massive online task that can be quite interesting but is also daunting. 
By far the most fun thing is hanging out in the shop. Also, lots of kids come in and since our own kids are big old teenagers it’s lovely to hang out with babies and toddlers and mad enthusiastic middle schoolers who run in and grab their books with that eager reader gleam in their eye.

We have a very entertaining staff, and we get to meet so many people, with such varied interests, and there are always good conversations and arguments springing up among the books.

kate donna little city books hoboken

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Highlight of Their Careers {So Far}

Kate: My years as a touring musician were really great. I played all over the States and in Europe and I just love road trips and traveling with a band. Now, owning a bookstore in Hoboken with my friend Donna is almost like a road trip, and it’s a fantastic adventure. Highly improvised, like music. The most rewarding part of the bookstore is feeling that we’ve brought something of cultural value to Hoboken, my home.

Donna: I worked for 25 years on Wall Street in Municipal Finance, which I loved. I learned about and helped cities, states, universities and hospitals build for the public and I enjoyed the hustle of Wall Street. As Kate says, owning a bookstore is pretty crazy fun, we have fun making up our business plan as we learn, and we love being a part of this vibrant town. My all time fav thing tho is traveling with my kids.

Zap Fitness

READ: Hoboken Girl of the Week: Laurén Bienvenue of Once Upon a Laurén

What a Day Off is Like

Kate: I read, garden, and hang out with my family, who I find very funny.

Donna: I wander around town a lot and read of course.

Their Advice to Someone Pursuing the Same Career Path:

Do your homework. Bookselling is a truly precarious business, and you need to carefully consider factors of location and customer base.

Hoboken + Jersey City Favorites

What is your favorite restaurant in Hoboken? 

Kate: La Isla
Donna: Elysian

What is your favorite boutique in Hoboken?

Kate: The Guitar Bar! Boutique guitars.
Donna: That’s a good one, I like Peper Parlor too.

kate donna little city books

What do you love most about Hoboken?

Kate: My friends. I’ve lived here a long time. And the river.

Donna: It just keeps getting better and better here in Hoboken, I do love the river too, I paddleboard on it whenever I can! I also like my friends, and I like Kate’s friends too.

What is your favorite thing to do in Hudson County?

Kate: Sell books.

Donna: Lol, me too.

How long have you lived in Hoboken?

Kate: Since 1981.

Donna: Since 1985.

What is your favorite outdoor place to spend time in Hoboken?

Kate: My little backyard and walking the dog up at Stevens.

Donna: I love all the parks but my favorite is Church Square; I like the river, I like my stoop, and I love watching soccer and hearing music at Sinatra Park.

kate donna little city books

What is your favorite place to work out in Hudson County? 

Kate: Ballet and tap at Garden Street School of Performing Arts and Mile Square Dance Academy — amazing teachers.

Donna: I run along the river mostly, but really like Hudson Yoga Project too

See More: Hoboken Girl of the Week: Shane Clark {Owner of the Grind Shop}

Where do you go out with friends in the area?

Kate: Elysian Cafe. Joyce and Eugene Flinn are good friends.

Donna: Antique Bar and Bakery

What is something you think needs to come to Hoboken?

Kate: Hoboken should and could be a much more interesting retail, restaurant, and art scene. There are way too many empty storefronts on Washington Street. It makes me sad to see the chains coming in. My local bodega recently closed due to pressure from Trader Joe’s. We could use a good Ukrainian restaurant!

Donna: Dim sum.

Want to be featured or nominate someone as an upcoming Hoboken Girl of the Week?

Email [email protected] about your/her story.

Have you joined our Facebook group yet? Request here to gain access to even more local tips, and connect with fellow Hudson County residents.

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