An Outsider Looking in on Bible Depot
As an outsider looking in, literally, (because it was closed the day we went to see it), Bible Depot is not like a regular bookstore; it’s comprised of memorial supplies, cremation urns, and many other objects one would not expect to see in a bookstore. Considering I’m someone who has only been to Barnes and Nobles in a suburban area, this bookstore is extremely odd to me. I’m unfamiliar with the additional supplies and objects Bible Depot obtains because the only bookstores I’ve ever been to just include books, movies, board games, and children toys.
In the urban community of Sunbury, Bible Depot is not at all what I expected. It’s a Christian bookstore that consists of books and soundtracks, among Biblically based products from Bible and books to church supplies and gifts. Since the majority of people around my hometown go to Barnes and Nobles to either browse for books, or drink coffee, I would think that’s what Bible Depot would be about. In contrast to why people go to the bookstore in my hometown, people go to Bible Depot to not only browse for books, but to browse for all types of items. Demographics of the town exemplify that 90% of the population is white, and 15% are Catholic, which could be another reason why some consumers enjoy Bible Depot. “Place is how we make the world meaningful and the way we experience the world” (Cresswell, 12). The experiences consumers have at a place like Bible Depot can be interpreted in many ways, but to me it’s meaningful because I’ve never seen a bookstore like this one in regards to what is incorporated in it. All the bookstores I have come across have just maintained books and movies, and sometimes board games, and toys.
When we went to visit Bible Depot, we also drove into town passing at least three or four churches, a barbershop, a salon, and places to eat. What caught my eye is that many buildings looked abandoned, out of business, or run down, depending if they actually are or not. Compared to my hometown, a lot of the buildings are department stores, none looking run down or old. The town of Sunbury only consists of about 9,705 people, whereas, East Northport, my hometown, consists of 19,373 people. To say I’m a big fish in a little pond, here in Sunbury in comparison to East Northport, is a bit of an understatement.
Due to the fact of me being from New York, I didn’t realize how the towns in New York and Pennsylvania compared to each other, which could translate to me being an outsider. The town of Sunbury is very small; small enough where most people know each other. Considering my high school was made up of three different towns, there is no way for everyone to know everyone else in my town. Many people say a place is a meaningful location to a specific person, the material setting, or the sense of place. The cultural, emotional attachment, and sense of belonging also plays into the meaning of place. “As well as being located and having a material visual form, places must have some relationship to humans and the human capacity to produce and consume meaning” (Cresswell, 7). In consideration to this, Bible Depot hasn’t always been the same as to when it opened it 1931. The outside design of the building was changed pretty recently but the consumers of this place probably weren’t as affected by this change compared to the building of a flood wall.
The town of Sunbury experienced a destructive flood in March of 1936, leading to the decision to construct a flood wall in 1946. The flood wall was finished being built in 1951 and has evolved and been improved over 60 years to protect the city from flooding. What does this have to do with Bible Depot one may ask. Well, according to insiders, the flood wall is one of the most significant things in Sunbury, making Bible Depot seem not as important. Due to the fact there aren’t many stores in Sunbury, Bible Depot isn’t as out of place as other buildings because the majority of the town consists of churches. In relation to the churches in this town, Bible Depot shares the theme because both are based on religion. Many items in Bible Depot relates to the church, more than most bookstores, which helps it stand out.
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