The Dream Becomes a Business
Living Grace entered the business world on May 4th, 1948 when Ignatius and Annette DiGiovanni signed the company’s articles of incorporation. With $600 in cash, this pioneering couple from Brooklyn, New York gave birth to what was to become one of the countries largest church supply companies. Few companies are as closely identified with the history and development of the church goods industry in the latter part of the 20th century as Living Grace. As with most great enterprises, Living Grace’s beginnings were modest. The company had anxious moments in its infancy. The earliest records show the first day’s sales at a mere $.75. The DiGiovanni’s were young and full of enthusiasm and that entrepreneurial spirit recorded a grand total of $156.78 for its first month of sales.
Quality Goods At Affordable Pricing
Perhaps the single greatest contribution of Living Grace was our early recognition of the exorbitant pricing that was so common in the industry. In almost every product category, goods were produced at inefficient factories and most local dealers carried very little stock. By determining the best sellers in each of the categories Living Grace was able to place much larger orders to factories who were interested in larger volumes that could guarantee better pricing. The net result was that Christian churches across the country now had a supplier that could ship quality goods at affordable pricing and in most cases could ship these goods within twenty-four hours. The response in the Christian community was sudden and dramatic and Living Grace was able to grow the business and also increase our reach throughout the country.
The First Products
Ignatius DiGiovanni and his sons Paul and Tom insisted that Living Grace continue to analyze the product lines to determine which products would present the best savings and offer the most value. Starting with affordable communion cups and communion ware and venturing into Christian church apparel Living Grace was able to cut church supply budgets for churches of all denominations. Stoles, albs, paraments and altar linens were featured in monthly catalogs that represented huge savings and word of mouth advertising spread throughout the Christian community. With the addition of new experienced product merchandisers and state of the art purchasing software Living Grace was able to introduce new product categories that fit needs in all areas of church ministry. Teaching aids, sanctuary banners, maple communion ware and Advent supplies all added to the excitement of a family business that was able to grow by instilling Christian ideals to our staff of over 100 associates.
Becoming A Global Company
In the 80s, Living Grace was able to connect with Christian individuals in the Far East who could insure a steady flow of “quality products at affordable pricing” and do so while still promoting human rights. Living Grace was able to source diverse products in spiritual communities in Thailand, China, Vietnam and India. Hand carvers in the Philippines and plastic mold makers in Sri Lanka were able to provide better for their families while saving money for churches in America. In a truly global company with a foundation steeped in Christian beliefs we feel that humanity prospers and spirituality grows when we live our faith while transacting commerce. Our associates believe in our values and seek business solutions that respect the earth and the basic human rights of any and all individuals.
Living Grace had its start as a terrible war drew to a close when a couple of faith had a dream that would meet the needs of Christian churches everywhere. Today, Living Grace presents true alternatives in a new century where life is infinitely more complicated and now more than ever needs the grace of God to survive. Our history is the culmination of hundreds of people in our organization who have made a commitment to excellence and thousands of customers everywhere who have believed in our quest. We ask the Lord for a Living Grace that will guide our future and give us strength as we spread the Good News.