There’s a cozy spot for spirituality hiding above First Street in central Casper.
Blessed Are They Books & Gifts is nestled on the second floor of the historic OK Building in what was for years an office for Modern Electric. Before that the rumors are it might have been used as a brothel.
Today it’s a refuge for people of faith to buy books and gifts, and to relax and talk.
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“We get a lot of comments like, ‘I just feel at peace in here,'” said co-owner Gerise Vignaroli.
Vignaroli and her friend and business partner Sarah Green first started their business in 2018 with trunk sales. Within a couple of months the demand was enough that they decided to open a retail location.
Vignaroli had been using the space for a scrapbooking business for several years. Eventually she and Green both sensed another calling.
Green went to theology school and homeschooled her children.
“Probably like five years ago when I graduated from theology school I had this vision of having a shop in Casper where I could provide all the amazing books that we had been using,” said Green. “We finally got to a place in our life where we thought that we could do this.”
“I think I prayed about it for like 24 hours max, and then I asked (Gerise) and she prayed about it for 24 hours and said ‘Yeah, we’re in,'” said Green.
“We want a space where people can come in and enjoy a cup of coffee and the atmosphere,” said Vignaroli.
Both owners are Catholic and the store reflects that, but they stock items for all Christian faiths.
“We definitely want to provide a non-denominational feel,” said Green. The store provides books and gifts for children as well, and features a nook for kids to play and read.
Green and Vignaroli say they’re filling a gap left after the last religious store in the mall closed a few years ago. They also offer something online retailers can’t offer.
“We love being able to see and touch and feel the things we buy,” said Vignaroli. “It’s more about the experience, it’s about coming in and picking up a book and having a conversation.”
The store is holding a re-opening on Saturday celebrating a complete remodel that exposed original brick and wood flooring hidden for decades under red carpeting. Some of the floors showed years of life and had never been stained. The pair embraced that look.
“We have a bracelet that says ‘perfectly imperfect,’ so we’re cool with this look,” said Green.
Blessed Are They Books & Gifts is located at 244 W. First Street and open on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Their grand re-opening celebration is Saturday, September 6, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Their website can be seen here.