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Unusual Suspects

I can remember the first time I went to a Catholic Store on my own. I had just gotten my driver's license a few months before, and I headed downtown to the store that served the Catholics in Colorado Springs.

It was way downtown, or at least a lot farther south than I was used to going at that time. It was a scary experience, but a good one nevertheless. I found the store and walked inside, looking for a replacement rosary for the broken one I carried in my pocket. The lady who helped me find that rosary, and the same one who became the cashier when I was ready to leave, was a pleasant person. She was a nice, short, white-haired lady who obviously found some kind of joy in working among items indicative of her faith.

As the next few years went by, and two different Catholic Stores opened up in the malls here, both of which were closer to home than the only one that existed before, I found the same type of people working at the new stores too. They were run by nice, white-haired ladies who seemed very pleasant in person and who I had come to expect to be running religious stores.

Shortly after my brother and sister-in-law were married, I started working for Ian (my sister-in-law's brother, and also friend) at Aquinas and More, which was a Catholic store that he had recently opened where he could afford to open it, which just happened to be closer to me than I thought possible. It seemed kind of strange, at first, to be going to a religious store every day and see it run by a relatively young man. He's older than me, but he's got quite a way to go before he gets white hair; he hasn't even started on the grays yet!

It's been a few years since then, and we're looking at expanding again. Business is growing, and more people are necessary to fulfill the orders that are coming in steadily. Back then, it was just Ian and I most of the time, now we have more people. There are a few lovely ladies, none of whom have white hair, but they are still outnumbered by the young men in the company, and especially so during the busy seasons when Ian decides that he needs to hire temporary help and everyone's younger brothers decide to answer the call (pun intended, but literally true).

I've also found that many Catholic stores in the country are more or less mom-and-pop shops, and seem to be run mainly by white-haired ladies. I don't know for sure exactly why our store is different, but I know it has something to do with Ian's steadfastness to Holy Mother the Church, and also that this difference is demonstrated by the fact that we are the largest online Catholic store in the world.

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