Christian Retailing

Catholic store's major emphasis on gifts Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 23 February 2009 02:20 PM America/New_York

While inspirational gifts are a growing category in evangelical stores, they are a relatively recent addition when compared to the Catholic market, according to one of the area's leading retailers in the country.

"For Catholics, devotional articles are part of your DNA," Ian Rutherford told Inspirational Gift Trends magazine. "It would be strange to have a Catholic store that was devoid of them. It goes back to early Christian history, when you had icons."

At Rutherford's Aquinas and More store in Colorado Springs, Colo., visitors are greeted by a friendly clerk with a backdrop of products key to Catholic faith-icons, rosaries, holy cards, scapulars, prayer books, Bibles, special jewelry and more.

About 25% of the business at the store--located just a few miles from the headquarters of CBA--is in gifts, but they are a major emphasis on the Web site that Rutherford also oversees.

Rutherford's business has benefited from a resurgence of interest in devotional items among Catholics, especially in the last 10 years.

"In the 40-year period following the Second Vatican Council there was a loss of interest in the rosary and other religious items," he said. "They were no longer considered necessary, but that view was never officially accepted by the church. People realized that the physical parts of the Catholic faith are important-having beauty around you as a reminder of your faith."

Rutherford advised other Christian stores looking to serve Catholic consumers to "learn the language" and do some research.

Read the full report in the next issue of Inspirational Gift Trends, with the March 9 issue of Christian Retailing.