“Everything we carry is curated. We don’t have the mandate of a general-interest bookstore,” says Cris Siqueira, co-owner of Lion’s Tooth (2421 S. Kinnickinnic Ave.), which opened late last year in a former Bay View tattoo parlor.
Instead of catering to trends and bestseller lists, Siqueira and Shelly McClone-Carriere sell foreign-language books, titles published by small presses and graphic novels, plus a smattering of more mainstream titles.
McClone-Carriere (a founder of the Riverwest Co-Op) met Siqueira in the late ’90s while vacationing in Brazil. At the time, Siqueira reported for a large newspaper in São Paulo – where she also owned a bookstore with a focus on alternative comics. “I knew then that graphic novels and comics were going to be something big,” Siqueira says.
In 2004, she moved to Milwaukee.
In addition to selling books out of the store, the owners offer a subscription service. Each month, they package a new release with small artist-made items like cards, magnets, buttons, stickers and keychains, plus a Lion’s Tooth ’zine (prices vary, but average around $35 per month).
Inspired by McClone-Carriere’s work with a student-led café at Highland Community School, a café will debut soon. The co-owners also intend to host events and serve beer on tap for adults.
“We want to have a space that’s activated,” McClone-Carriere says. “We want people to hang out and talk about books.”