Monday, 25 February 2013 10:04

Step into A Touch of Grace

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A Touch of Grace staff pose in the front of their newly opened Christian store, located at 171 W. First St., in Oswego. From left are Pam Dinallo, employee, and co-owners Stephanie and Bernadette Crisafulli. A Touch of Grace staff pose in the front of their newly opened Christian store, located at 171 W. First St., in Oswego. From left are Pam Dinallo, employee, and co-owners Stephanie and Bernadette Crisafulli. Debra Lupien photo

      Sometimes, the things you really want to do in life are not always easy, but they are worth it.

     That is exactly what Scriba resident, teacher and owner of the newly opened Christian store, A Touch of Grace, Bernadette Crisafulli, has come to realize.
     When Oswego lost its only Christian store, The King's Business, in 2012, Crisafulli said as much as she wanted to open a store, it was not a decision she could make lightly. As a full-time reading specialist at Mexico High School, she said she really had to consider if she would have the time to devote to it.
     "I sat and prayed long and hard about it, but still was unsure because of my free time," she said.
Crisafulli's solution was to bring her 22-year-old daughter, Stephanie, into the business and set her up as co-owner.
     "I mostly did it for my daughter because she has worked in different stores like the Rescue Mission and she loved it," she explained. "And as she is Christian as well, I thought it would be a perfect for her."
     Crisafulli explained that The King's Business was actually owned by William Todd and when he passed away, the estate decided to sell off his assets. She said she was a frequent patron of the store herself and when she saw the ad in the newspaper looking for a buyer to purchase the inventory and reopen the store, she was excited and intrigued.
     "I connected so well with Marcia Todd, who as the executrix of the estate and she felt I had the same vision for the store as her father," she said.
Crisafulli said the entire process had to be done very fast because at the time, school was starting and everything needed to be out of the old store at 198 W. First St., by the end of September.
     "We were able to purchase all of the assets and the inventory, including the shelving and pretty much everything not nailed down," she said with a laugh.
     The one thing they did need to do was upgrade the computer system.

     “We could have chosen to keep the name, but instead decided to make it our own,” Crisafulli said.

     A Touch of Grace opened Oct. 8, 2012, and in addition to the inventory purchased from the previous store, some new elements have been added as well.

     “We are Christian, but are also very charismatic Roman Catholics and wanted to add more Catholic elements such as rosaries,” Crisafullipointed out. “Oswego is definitely a large Catholic community and it was definitely needed.”

     She said she and her daughter had planned to travel to Rome, Italy, for years and finally got their chance in 2012.
     "I hadn't actually purchased (A Touch of Grace) at the time, but was pretty sure I was going to, so while we were there, we purchased quite a bit of merchandise."
     The rosaries blessed by the Pope are one of the more popular items they brought back.
     "They flew off the shelves," she said. "Another popular commodity we brought back were chaplets that we purchased at the Vatican and were also blessed by the Pope."
     Chaplets, she explained, are a mini rosary and she said the still have a few of them left.
     Some of the other blessed items they acquired at the Vatican include religious medals and St. Christopher key rings.
     Crisafulli said they also have an authentic crown of thorns from the Holy Land and it comes complete with a Certificate of Authority.
     "I'm trying to bring in more unique things like that as well," she said.
     Currently, A Touch of Grace is also highlighting the canonization of St. Mother Marianne Cope, selling books, candles, prayer cards and pins with the costs of the Shrine at St. Peter's Church.
     "We also want to reach out to all of the Christian churches in the area to let them know that we have many items for Sunday school classes and are very willing to special order anything they need that we may not have in stock."

     Crisafulli said they also carry First Communion and Confirmation cards and gifts, as well as a large children's section, which includes storybooks, journals and an extensive line of Gund stuffed animals.

     There are also Christening and baby gifts, along with wedding accessories and gift ideas.
     "We have beautiful gifts for the bride and groom, such as the unity candle, cake toppers and bridal sets, such as the garter, cake knife, guest book and pens, goblets," she said. "We also have Dayspring cards.
     Currently, Crisafulli said they have large inventory of Valentine's Day stock, including the popular Blooming Expressions, from Hallmark.
     "But ours come with a Christian message," she said. "We also have the Mr. and Mrs. line of mugs and journals."
     A Touch of Grace does take special orders, which this spring will include First Communion dresses and veils, with the fittings being done right at the store.
     Even with Crisafulli's full schedule, she said things are going very well and are picking up as more and more people come to realize they are there and what they offer. But the biggest blessing to her is that her daughter loves the store, the customers and working at the Christian store.
     "We are Oswego County's only Christian place," Crisafulli pointed out. "In fact, we are probably the only one in the whole area and even into Syracuse and we want to be a light to the world,"
     A Touch of Grace, located at 171 W. First St., is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
     For more information, call 216-4489 or check out the Facebook page at



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