Bible Bookstore & Gifts known for ministry to customers
By Kristi Sanders
A Vincennes store has changed its name to reflect its expanding offerings to help better meet the needs of the community. In the fall, what had been known as the Bible Bookstore since 1965 when it was opened by the Page family changed its name to the Bible Bookstore & Gifts.
“We have gotten more into gift products,” Chad Tevebaugh, who purchased the Main Street store from Ray and Anita Tromley in 2004.
Buying the store was a big change for Tevebaugh who’d been in the insurance business with his father for eight years.
“I was just ready for a change,” said Tevebaugh. “I fairly recently had accepted Christ. I knew the owner at the time and worked everything out. I thought it would be a positive atmosphere.”
That positive atmosphere has undergone some changes over the last 14 years. One of the biggest changes was converting the store from two levels into one.
“When I first came here we were two levels, a ground level and a basement,” Tevebaugh said, adding the transition to a single level was complete in 2010. “It was kind of hard for some customers to go down the stairs. So we bought the building next door and worked off and on with it for a few years.”
The addition of a second building also helped provide more space for the gift items the store now carries in addition to books and several translations of the Bible.
Julie Gornall, who has been with the store for 20 years and currently serves as the floor manager, said the store now carries gifts for all occasions.
“We have gifts for weddings, babies, funerals,” she said adding the store carries wind chimes, photo frames, wall décor, music boxes, greeting cards, youth and adult T-shirts and jewelry among other items. “We also offer a sale room.”
Gornall said boxed greeting cards, which are offered every day at buy two, get one free, are quite popular as are rings and other inspirational jewelry and Bible covers.
Several Catholic faith items including rosaries, holy cards, tokens of saints, clergy crucifixes among other items have been added to the inventory too.
The Bible Bookstore & Gifts is also one of the area’s largest retailers of Willow Tree Angels. The store also offers free gift wrap and delivery to local funeral homes and Good Samaritan Hospital.
“That’s a service we’ve added fairly recently,” said Gornall, who said some of the most popular gifts lately have been wind chimes and music boxes.
The store also boasts a selection of around 15,000 songs customers can choose from to create custom CDs using myMedia BurnBar.
“People can come in, pick out the songs they want and create a custom CD,” said Tevebaugh who said the store still sells traditional CDs as well.
More than just a store
The Bible Bookstore & Gifts is more than a store to many who pass through its doors.
“It is a refuge for some people and a place of peace. Somewhere that people know we are Christians and we are here to pray and help them anyway we can,” Tevebaugh said. “We do a lot of ministry. We have a lot of people that come in and say the store is so peaceful. That is what we really aim for.”
Tevebaugh said the store is also home to an active prayer journal.
“We have people that are shopping and may come up (to add to the prayer journal), but some people will just walk in the door and say, “Hey, I want you to put this on the prayer list,” Tevebaugh said.
Sometimes those asking for prayers are also looking for a special gift, said Gornall.
“People come in and often ask us to pray for their families and their prayer concerns,” Gornall said adding many customers say when they come in the store they feel like it is a safe haven from the outside world.
“We get the opportunity to pray with people as they come in. Sometimes it is just a listening ear; many times it is a hug. It is just actually being the hands and feet of Christ to those that come in.”
The personalized service at the Bible Bookstore & Gifts is also a draw for many customers.
Rebecca Roach of Oaktown is a frequent shopper at the store located at 106 Main St.
“I have gone to the Bible Bookstore & Gifts for years,” Roach said, adding store employees are happy to help find the perfect gift even if the customer isn’t quite sure what they are looking for.
“Even when my girls were little and we were getting things for Sunday school and Bible School it was always a nice place to go and buy gifts or encouraging card. I think it is where most of our Bibles have come from over the years.”
Taylor Stephens from Bicknell goes to the Bible Bookstore & Gifts at least once a month. Stephens has frequented the store since she was little and cites the friendly atmosphere as one of the reasons she loves the store so much.
“The environment is so friendly and so welcoming. When you go in you just know that it is a Christian place. They are just so friendly and smiley and they just make you feel welcomed and at home and loved,” she said.
Stephens believes the store has also been able to provide the community some comfort during a string of recent tragedies in the county.
“With all the tragedy that has happened in our area lately, I think that Jesus is the answer,” Stephens said. “They are not going to find books and things that can help them through those struggles at Wal-Mart and Office Max. They are only really going to find things that will help them when it is based on biblical values.”
She believes this store is important to those people crying out for answers.
“It is an awesome place to go,” Stephens said. “There are so many resources that can help you with your personal life and your family life. We need to put it to good use.”