Thursday, August 20, 2015

One of those, “You never know what event may happen this day.”

Our postal carrier came in to our store today, harried. He had picked up a man’s wallet on the sidewalk. He had contacted his postal supervisor who told him bring it in to the branch at the end of the day. Nancy and I remarked, “Why don’t we figure out who owns it and phone him?” Although that did not match with Postal Service regulations the mail carrier agreed. Referencing the wallet owner’s driver license I looked him up in an old phone book. (Do you remember phone books?)
I phoned the number. A woman answered and said that the owner of the wallet was out in the neighborhood nearby riding his bicycle. We agreed to keep the wallet in a safe place (filing cabinet) until that man could pick it up from us.
About 20 minutes later the owner of the wallet, whose face matched the photo on the driver license that was in the wallet, entered the store. He was grateful. He wanted to pay us. For a phone call? We refused to take his money. He then decided to make a modest purchase. He left happy. We were glad to help him.
Later I wondered if the Holy Spirit was working on the gentleman by encouraging him to enter this religious bookstore. Who knows what change it may make in the wallet owner’s life?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Bookstore Special Announcement, August 11, 2015

We sent this message to our mailing address on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hi ,

You are receiving this monthly newsletter because you have signed up for it. We appreciate your support of this ministry-which-is-the-store.

For almost 25 years now, we have been blessed to own a business that hardly ever feels like work, because we have believed it to be more of a ministry. But we must have done something right, since this bookstore-as-ministry has provided our staff a living wage, a comfortable living for us – more than we ever could have imagined when we purchased the business – and still see a profit at year’s end.

Now that we’re intent on retiring in order to spend the precious time we have left with friends and family, we had hoped to find someone to take over the business “as is.” This continues to be an option. But the amount of money required to do so (according to a professional business valuation) has been an obstacle for a number of faithfully loyal and interested parties.

As a result, we have broadened our thinking to make things easier, deciding to split the business into two parts: (1) the retail storefront (our bricks and mortar store), and (2) the website store. Not only will this provide the prospective buyer a more accessible and affordable entry, it will also allow each new owner to imagine new possibilities for each part of the business and grow it to new heights.

Our friends at the Bookstore Training Group of Paz & Associates have already developed some strategies that would find each branch to be self-supporting. Please contact them for more information by calling (904) 277-2664 or sending an email to

Please help us to retire by passing this message on to anyone that might be interested or to someone else who might know someone who would be interested.  Our message needs to reach that fertile soil. (Matt. 13)
Prayers are always welcome.

Thank you for your support of this ministry-which-is-the-store. We know that where you choose to spend your money makes a difference to the community and the world.

Blessings and peace,
Episcopal Bookstore, Seattle

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Homelss no longer

It’s been a year since we hired the homeless middle-aged man, M. You may read that post here. In this past year he has learned how to work in several different jobs in this bookstore. He has paid down his Visa account. M has moved in to a room in a house where he has a bed, heat, a place to cook, and a lock on the door. He told us that it had been 450 days since he had slept in a real bed. Since the move into his own residence M’s work has improved significantly. Eating balanced meals and sleeping through the night in a place where he feels secure has made a big difference in his productivity as well as his self-confidence. We are glad that he is part of the life of this ministry-which-is-the-store.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Bookstore sale status update

Here is my reply to a customer/friend’s inquiry about how the sale, or possible sale, for this bookstore is faring.
This ministry-which-is-the-store fits a small niche market. Working it, managing it, and owning it is quite a big commitment. We have had a succession of parties, mostly couples, interested in the prospect of owning it. It takes them extended time to discern their decision. Typically this means checking with family, friends, their priest (or more than one priest), their congregation, their diocese, their bank, the Small Business Administration, as well as the bookstore consultants that are helping us with the process, and with us. Further, if they are moving their residence to Seattle, they need significant meetings with realtors and more banks. In turn we have done due diligence with each party and have turned down a few that would not be a good fit. Currently we have more than one interested party that are working through their discernment. There is one that looks especially promising at this time.
I keep trusting that it will surely be in God's time.