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Gospel Book Store

By Kate Minnich Writer & Designer Published: June 1, 2016 12:00 AM
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In an industry dominated by big corporations, the Gospel Book Store continues to thrive in Berlin, Ohio. Visitors to the bookstore can expect to come in contact with wholesome material chosen to please the demands of today. Whether you are looking for a new Bible, Amish fiction or that perfect gift, you can find it at the Gospel Book Store.

When it comes to maintaining a strong customer base, owners Eli "Small" and Vesta Hochstetler think outside the box. Hosting Holmes County's Largest Author Signing the second Saturday in November, the Gospel Book Store brings authors and fans together in one location. Through book signings customers are able to interact with the authors they are reading such as Paul Stutzman and JoAnn Schrock, hearing from the authors the very message conveyed through their writings.

The Gospel Book Store also presents a Cookbook extravaganza to the public annually. This year the event will take place July 2. Cookbook authors are invited to the event who in turn bring samples of the food they compiled within their pages. Guests roam from table to table tasting the wares presented and getting the opportunity to talk about the preparation of food with these experts. Attendees are asked to vote for their favorites and three winners are selected in a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place standing.

The Bible is the anchor of the Gospel Book Store and drives the content sold within its walls. Customers looking for a Bible will be pleased to find an entire section filled with a variety of Bibles. Many translations are available including KJV, NLT & ESV. They also have Bibles in PA Deitch and German languages. Different styles of the Bible are also represented including the newly popular Journaling Bibles. Complete with large margins or empty pages readers are encouraged to reflect on the word of God through drawings or simple notes. Theses Bibles allow for creative expression, a way to capture a picture of your time with God.

Genres including Christian Living and Biographies, represent the community surrounding the Gospel Book Store. Local authors lend a voice of authenticity to the content and provide a local flair any large chain bookstore sorely lacks. Walking through the aisles of the bookstore a customer will also find many recognizable authors such as Max Lucado and Beverly Lewis. The Gospel Book Store will order a book for a customer, not currently on their shelves.

Tourists entering the store seek out the informational content as well as Amish fiction. With the focus of many falling to the lifestyle of the Amish and Mennonite communities, the Gospel Book Store maintains a strong tourist following that expands worldwide. Receiving mail orders from countries such as Scotland, Austria and Jerusalem the bookstore has made a big name for themselves.

The store listens to their customer's wants and needs when deciding what books they will put on their shelves. Recently actress Katy Segal was on the TLC show Who Do You Think You Are? She traced her heritage back to the immigrant Jacob Hochstetler who has thousands of descendents, especially in the Holmes County area. This led to an increased interest in the genealogy of Jacob Hochstetler. A book following the Hochstetler line was already in print and began to fly off the shelves of the Gospel Book Store.

Conscious of the various media outlets, the Gospel Book Store also maintains a large music selection. Everything from local (including acapella), accompaniment CDs, sheet music, song books and worships songs can be found in the store. "It is hard to stock the right ones...someone always wants something else," says Vesta Hochstetler. To remedy the problem they have the MyMedia Burn Bar which allows customers to listen to music and compile their own CDs. Many times customers don't wish to buy the whole CD so they will compile a list with various artists from different CDs and the bookstore will create a personalized CD. Customers also have the option to order in a complete CD if it is not stocked in the store.

Other items available through the Gospel Book Store include gifts, movies, babies and an expansive card selection. Along with a large selection of children's books, within the children's section there can be found Melissa and Doug toys, puzzles, games and novelty items. Gospel Book Store also carries curriculum for Sunday school and VBS kits offering a variety of materials from different publishers. Gifts range from figurines, including Precious Moments and Willow Tree, to wall art for the couple's home. After picking up a gift it is just a couple steps to the card section where nearly every occasion is fully stocked.

Choosing the perfect wall dcor to complement a home can be difficult. The Gospel Book Store has a large selection filling the walls of the store. But if you can't find what you need you can check out their Artfully display. Artfully is a computer program that allows customers to search a database of wall dcor by style, theme or scripture verse. Once a particular wall dcor is found the program will then generate an image of the item within a room. Customers can choose to place the wall hanging in a kitchen, office or other general living areas and even select the color of the walls in order to see exactly how the new dcor item will look within the room.

The Gospel Book Store provides the community with a wholesome variety of media always tailored to the interests of the customers. Remaining aware of market trends, the bookstore stocks a range of adult coloring books, movies and jewelry. The possibilities at the Gospel Book Store are endless with content sure to please the entire family.

The Gospel Book Store is located at 4900 Oak St., Berlin, OH 44610. To contact the store for more information please call 330-893-2523 or visit their websites www.mygospelbookstore.com and www.amishcountrycooks.com.

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