Business

Ridgetop is the place for LDS book store

"With a store name like This Is The Place, passers by can't help but be convinced they have found what they are looking for. For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kitsap County, it definitely is the place. The Mormon book store is the only one of its kind in the county. It's great to have a store here so people don't have to go all the way to Seattle, owner Crystal Sutton said.Sutton said the name came from a quote Mormon founder Joseph Smith is said to have uttered when he saw the land near Utah's Great Salt Lake on which the Mormons would settle. She said when Mormons see the quote, they know they are entering a Mormon book store. Name recognition was valuable when Sutton purchased the store. Sutton and her husband, Phillip, had no previous retail experience. The store, which originally was located on Perry Avenue in Bremerton, was a favorite of the Suttons. When the Suttons heard the owners of the store were closing the shop and moving to Missouri, they bought the store and took over control in 1995. I had no retail experience other than Tupperware, Sutton said. But I am an avid reader. I like to buy and look at books.The first thing the Suttons did was move the store to Silverdale, where it opened on Silverdale Way in fall 1995 - directly beneath the former Symes Restaurant and Bar. The Suttons soon realized opening a book store under a bar was not a good idea. Beside the general ruckus of drinkers disturbing the quiet atmosphere conducive to reading, other things started to work their way down to the Sutton's store.We had beer drip down on us a couple times, Sutton said.An opportunity to move presented itself, however, in an unfortunate circumstance. In the summer of 1998 Symes was set on fire and destroyed, sending an avalanche of beer and other beverages descending on This Is The Place's merchandise. The Suttons saw it as an opportunity to leave and started to look for other locations. They moved into their present location on the corner of Ridgetop Boulevard and Mickleberry Road in June 1998 and have been quite happy since.One of the reasons the Suttons enjoyed the new location was its proximity to Costco. Sutton said Mormons like to stock up on supplies in case of disasters, and her books on preparedness are valuable to those looking to start stocking up. Sutton said she gets a lot of customers coming to and from the bulk value store. This Is The Place also has books on how to trace genealogical records, another favorite Mormon pastime. Sutton said the store's wide selection of Christian art, books and music are valuable for anyone who wants to keep a buffer between their children and pop culture. You don't have to worry about anything here offending someone, Sutton said. Sutton said she is happy with the store, despite the rising cost of doing business in Silverdale. Volunteers work in the store now to help keep costs down, but Sutton said once their lease is up, she is unsure whether they can afford to stay in their present location. For the time being, though, This Is The Place is happy to be a service to Kitsap's Mormons.The mission is to get the word out about Christ and help out members, Sutton said."

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