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Gospel Book Store: Welcoming Holmes County's Largest Book Signing

Katherine Ryder Published: November 1, 2011 10:46 AM

Gospel Book Store: Holmes County's Largest Book Signing Event

By Katherine Ryder, Editor

Eli and Vesta Hochstetler purchased the Gospel Book Store from Abe Mast in September 1975. At the time the business was very small, so Eli used a simple motto to keep the store surviving.

"If we didn't have it, we'd get it for you," Eli said.

Then in the late 1970s, Gospel Book Store began using a Single Title Order Plan which would allow Eli and Vesta to make single orders and still receive a discount for their purchases.

In the 1980s, Eli then started using Spring Arbor Distributing which allows businesses to order books and receive them a mere two days later.

These additions and improvements as well as several other steps has led Gospel Book Store to the prospering entity that it is today.

"Now we can order most books before Noon one day and have them by Noon the next day," Eli said. "Something that is very convenient for tourists and locals."

Over the years, Eli has consistently kept another job other than the book store, explaining that it simply wasn't big enough to support a family.

"The dream was to have the store be big enough for Vesta and I to work here full-time," Eli said. "It wasn't until two years ago that that happened. I'm loving every minute of it."

In what is most frequently considered to be the heart of Holmes County, the community of Berlin has welcomed many stores and small businesses graciously, Gospel Book Store is no exception.

"I think we're viewed as a place you can get information," Eli said. "and as a benefit to the town."

Eli stresses the importance of Berlin's hospitality.

"I believe that this area has a culture different than any other place in the world," Eli said. "It's very unique. We need to print it, speak it, live it or we will lose it."

Two goals that Eli would like to work on in the coming year are not only for Gospel Book Store, but also for the Main Street Merchants of Berlin.

"We want to get this passion for the culture out into the community," Eli said. "Even more so than we are doing now."

There are certain limits that Eli has to take into consideration.

"We're all small business people, there is no Million dollar marketing project to make us well-known," Eli said. "We have to be friendly to people, true to ourselves and we have to live this culture everyday."

Something in the works that Eli is particularly proud of is a Berlin Amish half marathon that is projected for Nov. 24, 2012. More details to come as planning for the event progresses.

"Our ultimate goal is to make Berlin a guaranteed informative, unique and educational place."

Gospel Book Store will feature a Christmas Open House on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. During this time Gospel Book Store will host "Holmes County's largest book signing event." Over 30 national, local and Amish authors will be present to sign and discuss their published works. Some include Suzanne Woods Fisher, "A Lancaster County Christmas"; LeRoy Beachy, "Unser Leit"; Marlene Miller "Grace Leads Me Home"; Roger Ramseyer, "the ABC's of Living Happy" and "Life Skills 101"; Henry Stutzman, "Mein Reisen"; Phil Chalmers, "Inside the Mind of TEEN KILLERS" and many more.

Visitors are encouraged to bring previously purchased books and have them signed as well.

Gospel Book Store is located at 4900 Oak St. in Berlin. Store hours are Monday-Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information call 330-893-2523 or visit www.mygospelbookstore.com.


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