FORT LORAMIE — Silver Cross Catholic Books & Gifts, located at 18 S. Main St. in Fort Loramie, has changed ownership.
Ann E. Stidd opened her store 15 years ago, and sold it to new owners, Jim and Missy Bennett, who took over on Nov. 1, the Feast of All Saints.
Stidd, who grew up in Fort Loramie, moved away and was living in Virginia for awhile.
“I guess I had always thought about opening a little Catholic shop after seeing them in Virginia,” said Stidd. After moving back here in 2005, I had the idea that I could provide the community with resources like books and sacramental gifts for Baptism and First Communion, along with other items like rosaries and bibles so they could grow in their faith, so I opened the store in 2006. My inventory was pretty small when I started out. Over the years, however, the physical store nearly doubled in size, allowing me to expand my inventory. For example, I found out there was a need for bereavement gifts.”
The store took on the name Silver Cross for historical reasons, ones which honor the legacy of Fort Loramie going back to its earliest settlers. According to the Ohio Historical Society’s Ohio History Journal, Pierre Loramie was purported to be the first white man in Shelby County, Ohio, when he arrived in 1769. He earned a reputation as a trader who opened a store where General Anthony Lane would build Fort Loramie roughly a decade later. In 1782, the trading post (store) was burned and near the ruins was found a cross made of pure silver, proof that in Loramie’s day Christian life was present.
Stidd looks back on her years running the shop fondly.
“The surrounding communities and parishes have been very supportive, and I had the chance to meet so many wonderful people through the years. Now I’m at a point in my life where it’s time to retire and pass the business on to someone who can continue to support the faithful, yet bring new ideas to the business. So, I’m excited to welcome Missy and Jim to this ministry, and look forward to spending time working to help them transition into this new venture,” said Stidd.
“It has been said in our archdiocese that Silver Cross is an ‘authentically Catholic’ store. It’s a beautiful gift she started in the community and I’m very humbled to have the opportunity to follow in Ann’s footsteps. We look forward to continuing what Ann started with the mission,” said Bennett.
Missy Bennett’s background prior to taking on the business was working for Holy Angels Catholic Church as the Coordinator of Religious Education.
“I’ve had the beautiful opportunity to work under Fathers Amberger and Kohn at the Holy Angels Catholic Church that provided me the opportunity to grow deeper in my faith. So, my experience coordinating and sharing the Catholic faith with families there has been a good training ground for this new venture we are taking on with Silver Cross,” Bennett said.
Given her background, one of her goals is to expand the store’s outreach and social media efforts. In particular, Bennett would like to create a web store; initiate new programming groups for men, women, and children; as well as offer opportunities to meet authors.
Bennett believes the ownership transition date to be providential.
“When the Nov. 1 date came up as a possible day, it struck me that Jim and I took two pilgrimages to Italy — one in 2017 and one in 2018 — and in Italy you can’t go far without being in the presence of a saint. So it seemed providential that it would be All Saints Day that Jim and I would take over at Silver Cross,” Bennett said.
The Silver Cross Catholic Books & Gifts store is open Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and is closed Sunday and Monday. They can be reached by phone at 937-295-2040, by email at [email protected], through their website www.silvercrossbooks.com, or on social media at http://www.facebook.com/SilverCrossBooks/.