We’ve been asked the question, “Just how in the world did you end up running a Christian bookstore?” The answer is pretty simple-IT WAS A GOD THING!
My husband, Dick, and I spent most of our working years in education both of us teaching and later, Dick moving into administration. I don’t ever remember wanting to own a bookstore, but I did have a desire to be successful in some kind of business. Unfortunately, I wasn’t with any of my early attempts.
Just before we established Harbor House, I was fascinated with finances especially getting out of debt. I offered workshops and seminars, private counseling sessions and even wrote a book. We got to the point where we wanted to invest in real estate and noticed an old house in Chariton while visiting friends. Dick said to me, “We ought to buy that house.” I agreed but we did nothing. Six months later, we were visiting again and Dick said again. “We ought to buy that house.” Again we let it slide until, in prayer, I felt a conviction that it was time to buy that house. I even felt like we were to offer a certain amount.
Making an appointment with the bank representative, I traveled back to Chariton to get my first look at our “prize.” What a disaster! It was a large 100 year old house that had been converted into three apartments, two smaller ones upstairs and one larger downstairs. The main floor was the worst-filthy with the ceiling falling in, the front window suffering from dry rot. The carpet stank, the bathroom ceiling was covered in mold. There were no stairs to the front porch only rocks and blocks. It needed a new furnace, new electrical wiring and new plumbing to everything. I lost my interest real fast, but I was obedient to what I thought we were being called to do, so I made our offer. The representative said they had another interested buyer, so we’d have to come up with more. NO WAY! Of course, I was polite, but said sorry, that’s all we could offer. I left feeling relief that that was over.
Two or three weeks later, we got a call from that same bank representative telling us that they had decided to go with our offer. My reaction was an inner Oh no. (Later, I did meet the young man who had offered the asking price. He didn’t qualify for a loan and we were the only other people crazy enough to take on that project.) I said I’d talk to my husband and get back to him, but when I hung up the phone, I heard (It wasn’t an audible voice, but it was clear.) “Don’t put an apartment in the lower level, put in a Christian Bookstore.” Wow, a clear direction. How I had prayed that God would make His Will clear. Long story short-we bought the house. It took a couple of years to get it in shape, but we opened Harbor House Christian Store on November 24, 2009.