The “Little Angel” Gift Shop

By Natacha Hines

On 1988, when Father Salvatore Ciullo was the pastor, parishioner Fay Zumasky had the idea to raise money for the church by selling religious items. She began selling some books and rosaries from two small cases outside the sacristy. Sometime later, Father Sal gave her a corner of the All Purpose Room that is now the gift shop. Father Sal bought the display cases currently in the shop from the Bradlees store that was located in Burke Centre (where Walmart is currently located) when that store went out of business in 1989 or 1990. He also bought a large supply of Bradlees plastic bags, which the shop is still using today.

After Fay died suddenly on Christmas day, 1991, her husband, Joe, and Ann Leeds continued her work in the gift shop. Father Sal then recruited Mickey Bueno, who had retail experience, to organize the gift shop, which by that time had acquired the name “Little Angel”. She was joined by other volunteers, including Ela Paz, Ann Leeds, Sybil Valdez, Ken Hench, Larry Ogden, Natacha Hines, Irene Chalck, and others.

In 2007 Mickey Bueno moved to North Carolina. Karen Even and Natacha Hines took on the task of managing the store, including ordering merchandise and keeping financial records, until today.

In 1996, Father Martin became pastor. His idea of the gift shop was more to serve the community than to make money. A few years ago, we added “Fair Trade” products to help the poor of developing countries. These products are principally chocolate and coffee.

The gift shop is a success thanks to a group of volunteers who donate their time and talent: Annette De Vitto, Britain Brindle, Cathy Durham, Epi Mason, Hollis Hunter, Karen Even, Kathleen McArdle, Kurill Brindle, Maria Cristina Yelicie, Marta Barragan, Miriam Ponciano, Nancy Gogolkiewicz, Natacha Hines, Paz Quirora, Suzanne Johnson, Therese Malambri, and Trish Donald.

In 2007, the gift shop underwent a major renovation to provide more space for the display of sale items as well as for browsing customers. Father Richard Martin and new manager Natacha Hines cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the shop symbolically. The other picture shows how the shop looked after the renovation.

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This picture shows Father Martin and shop manager Natacha Hines in the gift shop in 2012.

This picture shows Father Martin and shop manager Natacha Hines in the gift shop in 2012.

Finally, here are three pictures that show the gift shop as it is today, in 2014. The last picture shows the “Fair Trade Corner”, with Fair Trade coffee and chocolate products for sale.

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