Opening a Bookstore or Gift Shop in the Episcopal marketplace?

Need advice from other EBA member stores?

Member Stores of EBA are always willing to share our knowledge with you. As a very unique market, our member stores are committed to communicating with and supporting each other. Bookselling in the Episcopal marketplace is an exciting and fulfilling profession.

Here are some beginning suggestions for opening an Episcopal gift and or bookstore:

  • Join as Provisional Member of EBA - Networking with Member Stores of Episcopal Booksellers Association is the #1 benefit of membership of EBA.  If you are thinking about opening a bookstore or gift shop, you may join as a Provisional Member for up to two years. Provisional dues are discounted to allow you an opportunity to access EBA's information, tools, and expertise while you are formulating your business plan.  You will also eligible to attend EBA's Annual Meeting.
  • Develop a Business Plan - The Small Business Administration has lots of resources for new businesses on its website including finances, marketing, and legal concerns. SBA also has local workshops that you can attend for free. Also check your Chamber of Commerce and local Economic Development Committee for other workshops for new businesses. Most of these information sessions are free.
  • Partner with an EBA Mentor - As a Provisional Member of EBA, we are also happy to partner you with a Mentor EBA Store. Our mentor stores have been in the business for a long time. They are happy to help you with questions, put you in contact with vendors, explain book terminology, give you best business tips, and help you learn from their expertise. Please email EBA's Executive Director or call her at (888) 589-8020 if you are interested in having a mentor.
  • Request the "Opening a Bookstore" Kit from American Booksellers Association -  If you plan to open a store targeted at the Episcopal marketplace, you will want to focus on specific inventory, but this kit is a great resource for getting started and comes with an invaluable checklist. Please email Catherine Cusick at ABA to request the kit.
  • Consider purchasing Opening a Bookstore: The Essential Planning Guide  - This book is published by Paz & Associates. They also offer workshops that are targeted for general independent booksellers. The book is specifically for religious bookstores but includes information about inventory management, e-commerce, publisher terms, etc. There are also other resource books available in your local library and bookstores.
In 2013 our church decided to temporarily close our gift shop in order to renovate the space and establish a new vision. We wanted to offer more books and Episcopal-related items to our customers. We immediately joined EBA after visiting the webpage. Our EBA mentor was an invaluable resource to us. We contribute our success to the wonderful resources offered to us through EBA and its email list service. Many thanks to all of you.
— Melene Hatcher, Manager (Volunteer), Episcopal Shoppe