The election of a pope can mean relief, hope and happiness for many, but for companies supplying religious goods, it means something else: a mini business boom.
“I have the order form right here that I’m going to fax today,” said Paul Garson, owner of Garson & Sons religious goods store at 2139 San Mateo Blvd. N.E. “It’s just called, ‘New pontiff prints, new pontiff prayer cards available within a short time after the election.’ “
Garson estimated the store would spend at least several thousand dollars on merchandise about Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
Though Garson is too young to remember how people reacted to the election of John Paul II, he expects his customers’ “moods to be very elevated.”
Ray Stuart, book manager at Garson & Sons, said he will order between 75 and 150 copies of books written by Ratzinger.
“If there’s 15 titles, I’m ordering all 15 in,” Stuart said. “We’ve carried his books before.”
Orders like that are flooding Ignatius Press, a book publisher in San Francisco that supplies Garson & Sons.
“We are so busy we can’t tell you right now what our print run is going to be,” said Mark Brumley, president of the publishing company. “It’s nonstop, and our very capable Web site has been bombarded with visits.”
He said the company had received 25,000 to 30,000 orders for Ratzinger’s books within hours of his election, and the company’s Web site logged 10,000 to 15,000 hits. Normally it takes a day to get that many visits to the Web site.
Ratzinger “has always been a good seller for us,” Brumley said. “Now we expect there will be a much greater demand for the insights of this profound man.”
Another religious goods business with two Albuquerque shops is also preparing to serve customers hungry for information about the new pope.
Angels and Saints and sister store Ave Maria plan to order about 30 books about or by Ratzinger, said Alyson Cupps, district manager of the two stores. She also intends to order copies of the pope’s portrait once it is completed.
Because Ratzinger has published several books, it’s likely that sales related to him might be a little higher than if an unpublished cardinal had been elected, Cupps said.