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.
The Institute provides a model for the store to seamlessly transition stewardship of the now-viable store back into the hands of the Christian community that has for years testified to its importance and mission.
Providentially through the leadership of the founding board (Devanie Cooper, Billy Bernard, Matthew DeBarry, and Christopher Tutor), the same amazing staff/missionaries of the previous 10 years, and with the support of the larger Christian community, St. Paul Institute has a vision to continue to impact culture for Christ at the intersection of business, media, and faith.
St. Paul Bookstore & Church Supply is the resource component of St. Paul Institute. It provides sacramental and 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, and Christians and non-Christians alike who are interested and striving after all things good, true, beautiful, and holy.
It is the only liturgically-minded Christian retail company in the Mid-South and in distances ranging from 280 miles to over 400 miles. It specializes in books, holy-reminders, and media for its lay customer while having a strong selection of church goods. The Bookstore specializes in special-ordering anything you are looking for in order to meet customer needs and remain your local, Catholic-Christian bookstore!
All excess income produced by the store front goes toward the mission of local evangelization and the fostering of Christian culture. To learn more about how click here.
Devanie has dedicated her life to loving the Lord and keeping this store alive. She has put countless hours behind the scenes developing the future of St. Paul’s through outreach, fundraising, and even the selection of items we’ve got in stock. Devanie loves serving this community, and also loves sharing Christ’s mission within this diocese. She can often be found helping customers pick out the right candles for their church, answering e-mails in the back, or filming her 1 minute devotionals she posts online.
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.
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.