POMPTON LAKES, N.J. -- Pompton Lakes resident Blake Pra Sisto filled a void for Catholics and Catholic churches nine years ago when she opened her shop called The Parish Store on Wanaque Avenue.
It is across the street from St. Mary's Church, where the Pompton Lakes resident used to work as assistant to the pastor.
People often would stop into the church office, asking about where to get items like rosaries and Bibles, she recalled.
"There was no where in the area to send them. One day I had the idea of starting the store. I told my husband and he thought it was a good idea and we began looking for a location," she recounted to Daily Voice.
In addition to providing consumer items, like religious medals, rosaries, statues, Bibles, books, crucifixes and inspirational gifts, the store carries church goods for parishes, such as Communion hosts, candles, incense, Mass cards, palms for Palm Sunday, Paschal candles and items for ministries.
Customer often stop in for items to purchase for Baptisms, Holy Communions, confirmations and weddings, Sisto said.
The shop's busiest season is Easter and spring, primarily when Communions and confirmations take place, she said.
"I have always worked very closely with St. Mary's Parish," Sisto said. "After working for the church for several years, I came to understand the operations of a parish and its ministries.
"When I decided to open the store, my intent was to work with churches as well. I believed that I could provide them with the items they needed at a lower cost than their current sources. I also could provide personalized service that was not available to them otherwise."
Clients include many New Jersey parishes, such as St. Anthony's in Butler, Our Lady of the Valley and Our Lady of Consolation in Wayne, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pompton Plains, Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Ridgewood, St. Joseph's Parish in West Milford, St. Elizabeth's Parish in Wyckoff, Our Lady of the Magnificat in Kinnelon and Our Lady Queen of Peace in Hewitt, as well as some that are out of state.
The Parish Store is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and closed Sundays.