The Journal

November 7, 2018

When religion is retail

Joe Stemper


You never know where your camera — and, most important, your curiosity — will take you. Or what you’ll say when you get there.

Holy shit!

That’s what I thought the first time I walked into this place.

I’m not particularly religious though I can’t help but relate to the craftsmanship that goes into each piece I saw at this religious supplies emporium.

Dan Stemper (first image) and his brothers — John, Joe, Peter and Jim — run the place their grandfather opened in 1911. These guys are the third generation. But it didn’t always look like it’d work that way. Each of the brothers first pursued another line of work. Dan was an accountant, Jim a mason, and so on. Eventually each found his way into the family’s business.

Will their kids take the helm some day? Not a chance, says Dan. His son works for Google.

(Coincidentally, their shop’s near this guy’s place.)


Peter Stemper


Jim Stemper


John Stemper