SHELBYVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — For the family running 3 Sisters Books & Gifts in Shelbyville, a busy brunch is just business as usual.
The business functions as a bookstore, cafe and gift shop, but 17 years ago it was just an idea among three sisters.
“I think we wanted to do something together,” said Carolyn Statler, co-owner and second oldest sibling.
The plan was set in motion by oldest sister Mary Kay Pitts.
“She just said, ‘We’re starting a bookstore.’ and I said, ‘OK, that’s fine,” said youngest sister Barbara Rogers.
These days the trio and their shop are pretty well known around town.
“We have the mayor coming in occasionally and he kids that this is the center of the universe,” Mary Kay’s husband, Lynn, said.
Nearly two decades later, the sisters say they still have to make that first impression all over again.
“There’s not a week that goes by that we don’t hear somebody say, ‘Oh I didn’t know there was a bookstore here,'” Lynn said.
But customers said they can’t imagine the city without it.
“When people say to us that they’re so happy we are here, that we have a bookstore,” Barbara said.
Behind the Business: 3 Sisters Books and Gifts
They are also active across Shelby County with their “Community Reads” program. The goal is to promote literacy to people of all ages, but especially kids in school.
They think of it as a gift from their family to yours.
“It just looked like a little restaurant that I would feel comfortable in…and I am,” one customer said.
The response is something Mary Kay would be proud of, but she died a little over a year ago. Her absence left a hole in their team and their hearts.
Her husband Lynn has helped the sisters carry on, along with people who have become more than just customers.
Now every time the remaining sisters serve people who walk through their doors, Mary Kay weighs heavy on their minds.
“[3 Sisters] right now is a continuation of what my wife started,” Lynn said.
Rogers said she hopes their efforts send Mary Kay a message: “Thank you.”
Her sisters and her husband continue to show her how thankful they are by making sure her legacy lives on.
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