COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: As co-owner of The Bookmark Shoppe, Bina Valenzano has gone on to become the chair of the Merchants of Third Avenue’s “Summer Stroll on Third.” The 2012 inaugural stroll was a nearly 10-block-long celebration along Third Avenue in Bay Ridge and involved dozens of Third Avenue businesses and hundreds of local residents

Based on the success of the 2012 event, Valenzano said that the merchant group plans to expand greatly for the second annual Summer Stroll. On the first two evenings, the lengthened stroll will be held from Bay Ridge Avenue to 80th Street, and on the second two evenings from 80th to 90th Street, including double the amount of participants. This year’s Summer Strolls are scheduled for July 19 and 26, and August 9 and 16.

PERSONAL: Valenzano was born and raised in Brooklyn, and went to public schools her whole childhood. She graduated from John Dewey High School and went on to college at The Fashion Institute of Technology. From there, she received her B.A. in Marketing Communications.

After working at a small advertising agency for about three years, she and her childhood friend, Christine Freglette decided to open their own bookstore. Ten years later, The Bookmark Shoppe is playing a vital role in the Bay Ridge community.

The Bookmark Shoppe holds a variety of workshops, classes, book signings, seminars and book clubs to bring the neighborhood in, enriching the lives of young and old alike.

Author Wendy Williams will be there for a book signing on May 8. The workshops for April include: Creative Writing for Kids, Kids Kan Knit, Short Story Writing Workshop, and Private Life and Wellness Coaching Seminar.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: According to Valenzano, the overall scope of organizing the Summer Stroll is challenging due to the amount of people involved.

With double the participants on board for this year, it is difficult to keep them all informed and involved. Along with that, the summertime is the slowest season for retail at the bookstore, explained Valenzano. “It is a challenge to create an audience by organizing fun events to catch their attention during vacation season,” she explained.

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