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Helping Other Catholic Stores

Today we had a long visit with someone who is going to be opening a Catholic store in Indianapolis. He flew to Colorado Springs specifically to visit our store, see how we work and to ask a lot of great questions about the market and Catholic retailing. Tomorrow he is going to sift through our vendor file cabinet to find product to stock his store and then we are going to look at maps of various locations to give him advice on picking the best location.

When he is ready to place his initial stocking order he is going to send us his proposed product list so we can give him advice on quantity and to see if there are any gaps he should fill.

Total charge? $0.

Last week we had a store in Pennsylvania call us and ask for help in finding vendors that sell stuff for the old Latin Mass. We gave him a list of a half dozen vendors.

Total charge? $0.

I realize that while sharing stuff like your closely guarded vendor list and actually answering questions about sales volume are almost anathema in Catholic store circles, we believe that it is far better to help a new store succeed than to have a fellow Catholic crash and burn because he didn't have enough information when starting a new store.

If any of you out there are interested in opening or improving your store, we are happy to talk to you as we can make time (this is not the best time of the year to ask for advice as we are very busy with Christmas orders). The healthier we are as a group, the better the product and the more of it there will be and the better we will be able to serve our customers' needs.


  1. Mastermind groups were good enough for Andrew Carnegie and his buddies, why not for Catholic store owners? Keep it up:)


  2. I can’t wait to see a great Catholic goods store open up here in Indy. That’s great news. Please assure him that we are ready for it.

  3. I agree, it’s great to know Indy will finally get a good Catholic store. Please post when they open so I can tell my friends there!

    You’re very kind to help other proprietors get started…Christian charity at its best!

  4. I like that you used the word “anathema”.

  5. Glad to know of another store opening here–we’ve been in Carmel (northside of Indy) for going on 5 years and would’ve loved help when we started. We do have a great relationship with the other Catholic store(s) in the area (a la Macy’s and Gimbel’s for you Miracle on 34th Street fans) because what is important is that the Catholic Customer finds what will bring him closer to Our Lord and His Church. We’ll be praying for your success and ready to help if you need.

  6. I have found most Catholic vendors to be very willing to share information. Or maybe it’s because I”m not much of a threat?

  7. I would say it is because you aren’t a “threat”. We helped some folks in New Mexico last year and they said hardly any stores would talk to them, even ones in other states.

  8. Ian has always been generous with his time and knowledge. He helped me review a business plan via email and a lengthy phone call, again $0. May God continue to bless you and your family!
    Bob Morgan
    Clearwater FL

  9. Thank you Mr. Rutherford,

    I too have had some very nice conversations with Ian regarding the Catholic Bookstore market. I am not a Catholic store owner myself, but I do work for a Catholic publisher (though I didn’t last time I spoke with Ian). I can say that his store in CS is one of the finest Catholic stores for its size I have ever had the pleasure of patronizing. All the material is well displayed, and none of it is heretical. May God continue to bless you.

    John H (The guy from Immaculate Conception)

  10. When I opened my Catholic book store several years ago, I found that other Catholic store owners were more than willing to help – and still are. I called stores at random, and owners spent literally hours on the phone with me. Owners I met at my first Catholic Marketing Network trade show were a wealth of information and help. And I try my best to return the favor whenever I can. I can’t imagine charging anyone a cent for my help. We’re all in this together.

  11. Wow, I have been doing reasearch on the web to understand better how to open an online and physical catholic book store..I kept coming across your sites and blogs and thought, “wow, this would be a great person to talk to” then I saw this posting. I live in vibrant catholic community in College STation TX and we do not have a catholic book store. I feel very strongly, considering myself a soldier in Christs army, to bring more truth to our Catholic brothers and sisters in order for us all to taste the fullness of truth here on earth. Any starter advice would be most appreciated…
    In Christ,

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