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Store in Steubenville, Ohio provides Catholic-themed merchandise

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States has people from all over the country flocking to the East Coast to catch a glimpse of history, but it’s more than just his presence that is getting people excited.

Every street corner in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C. will be decked out in papal gear that comes from Catholic to the Max in Steubenville, Ohio.

“We wanted to kind of own the papal visit, if you would,” says director of sales and marketing for Nelson Fine Arts and Gifts Kevin Nelles.

“My favorite thing about working here is that everything we make really furthers the vision of the church; it’s really evangelistic in nature.  It’s not just cheesy merchandise, it’s beautiful stuff that for a long time, Catholics didn’t have,” says Nelles.

“One of the things that people are most interested in on a novelty standpoint is the goofy, silly stuff like bobble heads. [We’ll also get asked] ‘Do you make any pope soap?’ or any other kitch-y sort of things. We don’t make anything like that. We love the Holy Father and we respect him. As a result, a lot of our things are centered around prayer.  Our mugs don’t just have a picture of the Pope on them, but they also have an inspiring quote to draw you closer to God,” says Nelles.

He points to a conveyor belt inside the store, saying it holds a lot of the orders the store prepares to ship out.

“The store is actually a small part of our operation, but in reality, we are a national and international wholesale online retail manufacturer.  We ship all over the world; we have a network of about 800 bookstores, church gift shops, and shrines,” says Nelles.
 

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