St. Paul Institute
St. Paul Bookstore & Church Supply is part of the non-profit, St. Paul Institute which seeks to present Christ to the local Church through the witness of its employees and volunteers, resources, and events. It is the only liturgically-minded Christian supply store in the Mid-South. It specializes in books, holy reminders, and media for its lay customers. The store also provides church goods and supplies such as churchwear, candles, and church appointments.
Our Story –
The St. Paul Bookstore brand has existed in Memphis for more than 30 years, stewarded by families, leaders, and even religious sisters. The Store began with the Shay Family and Lynn Phifer, a member of Holy Rosary Catholic Church in 1989 to meet a need felt desperately by Catholics for a bookstore. It then was assumed by the Pauline sisters.
In 2010, with conviction that the store was integral to the Christian culture in the Mid-South and there was a threat of watching it close, it was assumed by four families and generously stewarded to viability over the course of eight years.
It formally became a nonprofit in April 2020, entrusted to the local Christian community, with a mission to continue to present Christ through its amazing staff/missionaries, resources, and events.
It continues to provide sacramental, church supplies, and services to support the local church in her mission to make disciples. It is a much-beloved haven for bookworms, arm-chair theologians, pastors, seminarians, church staff, professional and amateur apologists, Christians, and non-Christians alike who are interested and striving after all things good, true, beautiful, and holy.
Devanie Marie is a privately, dedicated woman living in the world and serving our Lord. For the past six years she has dedicated herself in particular to the apostolate of responding to the Lord’s call to defend and further the mission of the store, which is to present Christ to the local Church. She has put countless hours behind the scenes into developing the future of St. Paul’s through outreach, fundraising, and inventory selection. Devanie studied Entrepreneurial Business at John Paul the Great Catholic University and is studying in the graduate program at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Theology. She is an Apostoli Viae Disciple and a parishioner at St. Michael’s Church.
She can often be found assisting customers, helping clergy with church appointments, on deliveries to our local parishes, answering emails and correspondence, or overseeing programing of events and activities.
Anne Walsh has been a part-time sales associate at St. Paul’s for nine years. Her duties include helping customers discern their needs and interests, as well as assisting co-workers find and bring the right products into the store and on the floor. Anne’s previous job experiences are in the fields of journalism and university public relations, writing stories for newspapers, and editing and designing publications. When she is not at work, Anne can be found reading for two book clubs, cooking, keeping up with family and friends, and attending as many Masses as she can at the Church of the Blessed Sacrament.
We sometimes mistake Tonya Wheeler for St. Francis of Assisi. Her love of animals is legendary; she has been known to rehab a baby squirrel or two in the office while she is performing her bookkeeping duties. If there is a product at the store that has anything to do with animals, it was probably her idea. Like the rest of the staff, Tonya wears other hats as well. In addition to bookkeeping duties, she assists customers, helps get product on the floor, and is an expert at repairing rosaries, jewelry, and statues. If you want a gift wrapped, ask for Tonya. She also holds a unique position as the store’s resident “Methodist”, and as such, can relate well to our non-Catholic customers seeking books or gifts.
Director of Inventory
Barbara Coon says she is just a “worker bee”, but her determination, attention to detail, and keen sense of customer needs, say much more. While she enjoys customer relations above all else, for ten years now she has provided invaluable expertise in ordering and receiving merchandise, and keeping inventory and the store organized. Everyone who knows Barbara knows her six grandchildren as well. She is fiercely devoted to her family and friends. She is also a fan of the RCIA program at St. Louis Church, in which she has participated for four years now. In her spare time, she collects baby outfits for Birthright.
Chad Robinson began working with St. Paul’s in 2019. He enjoys working the cash register, helping customers find the right book or gift for their unique situation, and listening to customer stories about their faith. Prior to working at St. Paul’s, Chad worked as a sales associate for a National college textbook chain.
During his time there, he earned the status of being one of the top salespersons for the company. He is appreciative that St. Paul’s has given him a new perspective on the industry. Outside of work Chad enjoys activities such as traveling, hiking, and anything related to the outdoors.