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Meet Rose Hanig of inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop in Fort Point Channel

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rose Hanig.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
We are the bookstore of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious tradition that affirms the individual search for truth and meaning. (For more information, please visit uua.org/beliefs.) We have a long tradition of providing reading material for our denomination and its members, which included such literary luminaries as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Margaret Fuller, among others. There has been a bookstore at Unitarian headquarters since 1886 at two different locations on Beacon Hill. We carry books from Beacon Press and Skinner House Books, both publishing imprints of the UUA, as well as books from other publishers that promote our values of respect for all people and our environment. We are online at www.shopinspirit.org and on Twitter @shopinspirit.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
We moved from our headquarters on Beacon Street, where we had been since 1925, to our new LEED Platinum certified space in 2014.

We have always been a bit of a hidden gem. In our previous building at 25 Beacon St downtown, we couldn’t hang much exterior signage because of restrictions on that historic building. We moved to our current space in 2014 and we are even more tucked away. We’re trying to get more involved in the local community here by participating in events, like the Fort Point Holiday Stroll put on by the Friends of Fort Point Channel, so they can discover our great merchandise. Our new space is LEED Platinum certified and is light, airy, and welcoming. As the UUA begins hosting more events in the evenings and weekends in this space, we look forward to reaching new readers and shoppers!

Please tell us about inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop.
As the bookstore of the Unitarian Universalist Association, we offer books to support people of all faiths and to engage with spiritual questions. Unitarian Universalists have been on the forefront of social justice movements such as marriage equality, immigration rights, and the Movement for Black Lives. We carry books that provide inspiration, grounding, and practical help on a variety of justice issues. We also offer beautiful fair trade and locally sourced items that make perfect gifts.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?
I am so proud of the growth of our in-store merchandise. Inspired by the progressive values of the UUA and in a more spacious location, I’ve taken time to discover and source a wide range of unique products that are ethically made and responsibly traded. We sell jewelry, candles, fun items for children and a thoughtful, spiritually grounded selection of children’s books as well. One customer commented that our store is like a museum gift shop, with a great variety of interesting and well-priced items.

I am also really proud of the excellent customer service that my staff provides on a daily basis. If you visit us in the store, they can help you find just the right book or gift for your needs. If you place an order with us online, they can help with questions on special orders or bulk shipments, or anything else.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 24 Farnsworth Street
    Boston, MA 02210
  • Website: shopinspirit.org
  • Phone: 800-215-9076
  • Email: bookstore@uua.org

Getting in touch: BostonVoyager is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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