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The Mission’s new street-front gift shop offers a variety of mementos for all occasions

The street-front location of the Mission’s new store aims to provide more access for paying visitors and regular shoppers. Courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano and InGrace Photography
The street-front location of the Mission’s new store aims to provide more access for paying visitors and regular shoppers. Courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano and InGrace Photography

By Jan Siegel

In 1919, Father St. John O’Sullivan opened up a ticket booth and gift shop at the front of the Mission to help raise money for a restoration project. Now, 94 years later, the historic Mission has come full circle to realize Fr. O’Sullivan’s dream.

The new gatehouse opened in March and incorporates the ticket booth of Fr. O’Sullivan’s time. Sam U’Ren, the Mission’s preservation manager, supervised the “seismic retrofit, re-plaster and stabilization of the building’s infrastructure from floor to ceiling.” The building was brought back to its 1919 roots, and arts and crafts furnishings are in keeping with that era.

The completion of Fr. O’Sullivan’s dream happens on July 13 when the new Mission Store opens to the public. By moving the gift shop to the front of the Mission, it will be easier for visitors to access the store, either before or after touring this historic site. It will also make shopping more accessible to people who just want to purchase Mission and religious memorabilia.

As stated in the Mission’s spring newsletter, the Jewel:

“The Mission Store will have a variety of products to offer visitors, members and travelers, including religious medals, artwork depicting saints and icons, ornaments, post cards, crosses, devotional items, garden-themed products, vintage California items, architecture-inspired items, swallows-inspired items, silver and gold jewelry, sustainable items and items recycled and reinvented creatively for a second life.

“The store will feature seasonal and holiday items such as Christmas gifts, organic or natural materials items for clothing, caps, bags, wedding, baptism, anniversary gifts, frames, platters, candlesticks and more.”

The Mission’s new store features a variety of early California keepsakes and gifts. Courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano and InGrace Photography
The Mission’s new store features a variety of early California keepsakes and gifts. Courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano and InGrace Photography

There will also be a collection of religious and historic books for sale. Many items in the store will reflect not only the Mission period, but the history of San Juan Capistrano as well. There will also be many handmade items from around the world. Fourth graders will still be able to find mementos of their school visits for Mission projects.

Trained volunteers will be working alongside Mission staff in the store. Mission members will receive 10 percent off most purchases, invitations for special events and special shopping passes given throughout the year. If you have not renewed your Mission membership or if you are thinking of becoming a Preservation Society member, this is the perfect time to join.

Until August 31, for every $50 guests spend at the store, they will receive a $2 coupon for general admission into the Mission. Discounts become handy for the out-of-town visitors you may have this summer. All proceeds from the store support historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

The talk of the summer will definitely be about the new Mission Store, which will become a shopping destination for residents and visitors alike. The store is open daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can spend a Moment In Time now and be among the first to experience this new addition in our community.

Jan Siegel is a 26-year resident of San Juan Capistrano. She has served on the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission for 11 years and has been a volunteer guide for the San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library’s architectural walking tour for 15 years. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007.

In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, The Capistrano Dispatch provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of The Capistrano Dispatch or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at editor@thecapistranodispatch.com.

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