New religious supply store in Cape not planning to sell any beer

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Mildred Close applied for a liquor license and posted the public hearing notice on her the window of her business, at 821 Broadway.

She says she's been getting some surprising reactions.

Some passing by her new shop, The Life of Jesus Religious Supply Store, see the notice of a public hearing for her permit to sell 5 percent beer by the drink. They grumble, their comments sometimes loud enough to be heard clearly through the shop's front window. One man strode into the shop and asked just what did she think she was doing, said Close, who is better known by her nickname, Millie.

She told him what she tells everyone who asks.

"We are selling wine to use for communion," she said Friday. "I'm certainly not selling beer by the drink."

The liquor license application she filled out is used for different kinds of sales.

"The 5 percent beer by the drink license covers every beer-related sale and any light wine, up 14 percent" alcohol, said Trisha Holloway, customer service supervisor for the city of Cape Girardeau.

Close has been working on the location since November. The store hasn't had a grand opening yet, but does have a Web site, www.thelifeofjesusorg.com.

"We're open but not fully equipped or staffed," she said. "We're going slow and doing it as we're able."

She will sell books, pictures, religious art and jewelry, as well as cards, religious garments and communion materials, such as the wafers.

Close said no wine will be sold until the permit is approved.

"It was our intent to comply with the law, jump through all the hoops," she said. The shop is nondenominational, though Close is a retired independent Pentecostal minister. She said her career has included stints as a church pastor and day-care center operator.

"Before I became a Christian, I ran a grocery store and a bar," she said.

Close, a North Dakota native, said she has been a teetotaler since the early 1970s, after spending 17 years as an alcoholic and losing her husband, who was killed by a drunken driver.

Though a member of Rock of Cape (formerly Christian Faith Fellowship) in Cape Girardeau, Close said her shop is not affiliated with any particular church. She intends sales proceeds to support missionaries in the United States and abroad.

Her application for a liquor license is on Monday's agenda for the Cape Girardeau City Council meeting.

pmcnichol@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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