New year will bring new ownership for Thee Bookstore

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN DON RATZLAFF
Even in the business world, history sometimes has a way of repeating itself.

A little more than two decades ago, Brenda Hamm was co-manager of the local Christian bookstore known then as the MB Bookstore at 135 N. Main.

The name, location and ownership of that business has changed over the years. But as of today, Hamm will again be co-manager of the store-and this time she’ll also be co-owner.

She and her husband, Rod, have purchased Thee Bookstore, now located at 105 N. Main, from Diane and Glenn Lygrisse. Her partner in managing the store will be Nadine Friesen, who also happens to be her sister.

“We’re excited about being able to offer those kinds of materials in the community and to other people,” Hamm said of the acquisition. “It’s kind of like, ‘Let’s see what we can do.'”

In addition to her stint at the MB Bookstore, Hamm also has worked at the Better Bookroom in Wichita. For the past few years, she has been a graphic designer at Baker Bros. Printing, where Rod will continue his job in sales.

Friesen, meanwhile, was on the pastoral staff at Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren Church for the past 25 years before resigning this summer. Her ministry specialty was Christian education, and the two sisters plan to develop that component of the business.

“I think we have some ideas for developing the curriculum aspect in a way that could be helpful to area churches,” Hamm said. “We could be a good resourcing place for Christian education and that kind of thing.”

The new managers have talked about starting reading-and-discussion groups in connection with the store, and have other ideas for expansion.

But Job One will be learning the present operation.

“We feel the Lygrisses have a good business going,” Hamm said. “They’ve done a good job reaching out to the community as far as developing the business. We want to build on what they did.”

The new team plans to have a grand opening down the road.

“During the next month or two we just need to get in there and learn,” she said. “So drastic changes probably won’t be very obvious in the beginning. But we will work toward them.”

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