Little did Fran and Dick Hofmann know that making rosaries and rosary bracelets while stationed in Alaska during the Korean War would lead to lifetime careers.....
Demand eventually swelled for their creations and the two decided to open a small religious goods store at 28th and German. In 1978, the store incorporated, expanded and moved to its current location on East 26th Street near Parade. “At first, my parents focus was on religious cards, statues, rosaries and general gift items,” says son Patrick.
Today, Hofmann’s continues to grow its business and expand its horizons. Patrick and his wife, Julie, now own and operate the store. Patrick is responsible for field sales, connecting with churches and religious institutions, while Julie runs the day to day operations within the retail store.
“At one time, there used to be multiple Christian stores in town,” Patrick says. With the industry and needs of the community changing, Hofmann’s now carries items for most Christian denominations and for personal spiritual needs.
Hofmann’s offers its customers plenty to choose from: books, bibles, music, greeting cards, religious jewelry, candles, artwork and gifts for events such as baptisms, confirmations, first communions, weddings and funerals. Hofmann’s also provides church renovations, custom liturgical vestments and clerical apparel, statuary, sanctuary items and restorations of religious art, sacred vessels, pews and kneelers for churches and religious institutions. “We are truly a one-stop-shop for religious goods, whether you’re a church, a bishop, pastor, member of the congregation, or someone looking for a special gift.” Patrick says. “We’re always asking customers what they want to see in our store then try to bring it in.”
The Hofmann’s consider Erie to be a great place that is full of family values. Besides their immediate family, they have quite an extended and dedicated group of patrons. “We have customers who check in with us at the store quite frequently, like they used to with Dick and Fran,” says Julie. “Our customers here are like family.”
Their “family” of customers has kept the Hofmann family business thriving. Customers value Patrick’s continual sales and service calls. “That old-fashioned, door-to-door service is very much appreciated these days,” Julie says. “Owners usually do not do door-to-door sales like Pat does anymore. Many places often see delivery people who don’t understand the business the way an owner does.”
Patrick gets inspiration from his parents. “They instilled in me the value of ‘service after the sale,’ and that is what keeps us going,” Patrick says. “My parents made this business what it is today; Julie and I are shepherding it."