Hosea’s Bible & Robe Center
841 N. 22nd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
— Isaiah 26:3
“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you.”
In 2001 Ramona Henry decided to follow her dream to open her own shop. Prior to becoming a small business owner she worked at the Gap as assistant manager and at Hosea’s Cleaners, which her husband Alvin Henry has owned and managed since 1978
Alvin took over the cleaning business his father started in 1924. “We went into business together full time,” Ramona says. They purchased a building and moved the cleaners to its present location. Her husband grew the business by diversifying–adding tuxedo rentals and seeking contracts with businesses. Now they clean high school ROTC uniforms, lab coats for clinics, uniforms for casinos and have contracted with local hotels to provide dry cleaning for their guests.
Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Ramona Henry attended McKinley Junior High and Baton Rouge High school, but finished school in California where she lived for two years. “After graduation I was just ready to come home.” Two weeks later, she met her future husband. They’ve been married almost thirty years and have a daughter, who now lives in Atlanta, and two sons, still here. Only one of their three granddaughters lives in town. All three children worked with their parents after school and on weekends; both sons still help out on Saturdays. “My daughter was already in school when we started the dry cleaners, but I had a play pen in the business with my sons.”
“I always wanted to own a Daycare, but my husband wanted to go full time into the Dry Cleaners Business.” So she shelved her dream for many years to work alongside her husband. With the example of her oldest sister who is an entrepreneur, she was still determined to have her own business. The dream changed along the way but the dream could not be denied. Her husband offered encouragement and was helpful in setting up her business. He belongs to an Economic Business Organization which teaches business owners how to grow their businesses.
“The Bible & Robe Center is something that I Love doing for myself.” When Ramona decided to open the shop, her goal was to focus on Bibles, choir and Minister’s robes and bible study materials, but she recently added Christian Tee Shirts and caps to her inventory. She employs one full time person and one part time. All three of her children have also worked in the shop. As the business has grown, Ramona feels she has also grown spiritually from the contacts she has had. “Sometimes when customers ask for a book they are looking for some direction in their lives. I have a chance to witness and help with people’s problems.”
When asked why she chose this type of business, Ramona says, “There will always be a need for Bibles.” She mostly sells in bulk to churches, Bible colleges, and other study groups. In January of this year she had a web site done professionally and hopes to generate online sales from around the country
Between the cleaners, her shop, home and family, she has very little spare time. The Henrys are very active in their church, Power and Praise Ministry, where Ramona is Director of the Women’s Ministry. Her favorite book is The Bible, but she also recommends Understanding the Purpose and Power of Prayer by Dr. Myles Munroe and How to Study Your Bible by Kay Arthur. She spent a lot of time at the library for homework and projects when her kids were in school, but not so much now that she is a bookseller.