Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington
Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302
New Catholic bookstore opens in downtown Spokane
Story and photo by Mitch Finley, Inland Register staff
(From the Aug. 2, 2007 edition of the Inland Register)
Lin Abrams and her husband, Steve, have opened Abba’s Catholic Bookstore in Spokane. (IR photo)
On downtown Spokane’s west side, tucked into a small building with fresh white paint, is a Catholic bookstore that opened for business on June 1. Soon the space next door will be home to an ice cream store and café.
Dubbed “Abba’s Catholic Bookstore,” the new business at 1618 W. Second Ave. is owned and operated by Lin and Steve Abrams. Steve is an electrician who teaches in a school for electricians operated by Spokane contractors, so on a day-to-day basis the bookstore will be primarily Lin’s responsibility.
As former Special Education teacher’s aide and library employee, Lin Abrams says that she loves books and reading, and she is excited about her new occupation.
The idea for Abba’s rose from the couple’s experience at the 2005 Marian Eucharistic Conference at Gonzaga University, Lin said.
“We had been thinking about what kind of business we could start together,” she said. “I could see myself in a bookstore more than anything else. I got my first library card when I was four years old. I just have this thing that I love books.”
Before opening the store, Lin had managed the Center for Peace’s bookstore on the far north side of Spokane, as a volunteer. When the Center decided to close that operation, Lin and Steve bought the stock and searched for a building.
What is now their present location appealed to them. “I liked how bright it is here, and I liked the location,” she said – downtown, but not in the city’s busiest area.
The decision to go into the Catholic bookstore business was a result of prayer, she said.
“This is all divine,” Lin says with conviction. “God invited me in to do this, totally.”
The marketing effort has begun, with advertisements and flyers. Abba’s will specialize in printed books, but also will stock videos and audio books. Offering church supplies might be in the future, but for now, “we need to kind of go slowly because we don’t want to offer services unless we can do it the right way. We have a wonderful children’s books section, and we welcome families with little kids. I even have crayons and coloring books for moms who want to come in with their little kids. We also have a section for teens and young adults, and I welcome suggestions for ways to beef up that section.”
Also being considered is an on-line presence through a web site.
When it comes to working with book publishers and distributors, Abrams prefers a more personal approach. “I’ve been doing everything on the phone. That way I get to know a person, and a name, and they get to know me,” she said. “That’s why when we opened this store I felt like it was easier because the people at the publishers and distributors already knew who I was before, and I knew who they were. There was a relationship there that I had built up over the previous two years” at the Center for Peace. “I really treasure that part of the job.”
Lin and Steve consider their enterprise more of a ministry than a business. Their CEOs are “totally Jesus and our Blessed Mother,” she said. “I definitely hear them speaking in my heart. I definitely heard God telling me that he wants me to feed his sheep, and that’s what he wants out of this store.”
The needs and wants of the people who come into Abba’s Catholic Bookstore will, Lin says, will be her guide on what to stock. For now, she will be concentrating on books and information, “not necessarily on decorating” customers’ living rooms.
“My faith is why I’m doing this,” said Lin. “I wouldn’t order any books that would go against that. Anything that wouldn’t be in line with the Magisterium of our Church, and anything that wouldn’t promote what the pope is promoting would be something that I wouldn’t want to be involved with.” Some might consider that approach “very orthodox and conservative.” But she also recognizes that “everybody has their method of searching. I was very lost in New Age before God found me, so I understand that the journey for all of us is different. So when they’re on the journey for solid Catholic teaching, they’ll find themselves in my store.”
Abba’s Catholic Bookstore is open Tuesday through Friday, 9 am. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is (509) 465-0251.