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Andrea and Dennis Lovvorn: ‘Called’ to Christian ministry

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 2/26/22

When it comes to “financial planning,” Dennis and Andrea Lovvorn have a lot of years of experience to share. Still, they have no immediate plans to retire from ownership of New Covenant Christian Bookstore and perhaps, never will.  

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Andrea and Dennis Lovvorn: ‘Called’ to Christian ministry


When it comes to “financial planning,” Dennis and Andrea Lovvorn have a lot of years of experience to share. Still, they have no immediate plans to retire from ownership of New Covenant Christian Bookstore and perhaps, never will.  

While pastors have “their calling,” the Lovvorns says their Christian resource center is theirs. Andrea says there’s one important thing she wants her grandchildren to learn in this life: the love of Jesus.  

Just a walk around the Christian bookstore is enough to secure anyone’s faith. There are books, candles, ornaments, baby items, etc., which could easily prepare someone for the difficult or joyous times. There’s even engraving that can be done in the store for gifts such as recipe boards. There’s a baby and infant section as well as a children’s shop. It’s all there. Some customers, they say, even just come to the store for a breather. There’s a gallery of Thomas Kinkade’s light art and other masterpieces just for any such occasion. 

Andrea wipes away tears, because her Christian faith is very close to her heart, as well as Dennis’. The Shelbyville couple note their business/“calling” is just a part of who they are, both in this community and as a married couple. Their two daughters, who are educators by trade, and their husbands, have expressed a love of keeping the store open in the future, Andrea shares. The Shelbyville couple note that’s a large part of what their business has been about all these years, preparing for the financial future of their children.  

Still, deep down, it’s all really about sharing the “love of Jesus” with this community. And while some people tell them, “They’re the best kept secret in Bedford County,” that’s not their intention. COVID actually increased their mailing lists, they add.  

The early days  

Their spacious store was once the old Dial’s Supermarket were Dennis worked as butcher for several years. He left after they married in 1988. They opened their first Christian bookstore in 1994; their oldest, now married and Hannah Fanning, was then 3, and their baby, now married, Rebekah Joyce, was then 3 months. Each now has a daughter of their own.  

It took Dennis and Andrea about 6 years from the time they started discussing together to actually open the doors to New Covenant Christian Bookstore. Dennis admits that he had always said he’d someday open a grocery store in the Dial’s building.  

“I think it was a calling, honestly,” he explains further. “I remember the day on the little steps . . . that’s when it really got stuck in my brain.”  

They remember they were put together on a triple blind date. They jokingly say they were “late bloomers.” Dennis was reared on Smith Street and lived there until his teens and then the family moved out to Nashville Dirt Road. He’s lived within a 5-mile radius to town. Andrea is also a Central High School graduate, having grown up as well here. They operated their bookstore on the historic public square for 3 years; they moved to Madison for 3 more years and finally to North Main in 2000.  

They’re about to celebrate their 28th anniversary in Christian retail; they credit business people like Tommy Anderton, now CEO of Trader’s Bank, for having confidence in them and their business throughout the years.  

Marriage and business and family, well, it’s not for the faint of heart, they admit. But they’ve examined their spiritual gifts and talents over the years and put them to good use.  

The family that prays together . . .  

After church at Fair Haven on Sundays, the family, Andrea notes, all gather at their house for lunch. They also spend the evening together. “We eat together all day on Sundays.” It’s their family time for loving on one another “Nana” and “Papa” (Andrea and Dennis) note.  

Dennis says their customers over the years have become a part of their family as well. Andrea says she’s also a “big proponent” of ‘shop local.’  

“Not just because we’re here, but I just feel that everyone should support their own communities.” Dennis says from Broadman offering envelopes to chocolates; they have it all. He’s all for shopping at home, even though businesses like theirs are becoming “dinosaurs,” that is, non existent.  

“I don’t think people understand . . . convenience of sitting in their pajamas and ordering [online]; they’re paying taxes in other places, instead of supporting our local taxes. And if they don’t get sales tax from businesses, then they’ll [government] goes up on everybody’s personal home taxes.”  

What’s their advice for young persons or couples contemplating opening their own business? That would be not to venture into self-employment thinking you’ll get “rich.”  

She added, “Our biggest concern is that this wouldn’t carry on and it would close. We do believe it’s needed in this community, whether it’s us doing it or our kids and our family, I would hate to see it close.”  

The family legacy  

Dennis says he enjoyed the grocery business, but believes, given their strong, family faith, they wouldn’t have enjoyed doing anything else but the Christian bookstore.  

In a flash, the two put their heads together to discuss a Bible engraving order—a part of their everyday life from sunup to sundown.  

The local couple note it’s worked for them. Andrea says daughter Hannah is a teacher now and husband, Heath, is assistant principal of Liberty.  

Rebekah is a new mom, so she took some time off from teaching; her husband, Hunter, actually worked for the store in his younger days and is now employed elsewhere.  

“Eventually, we feel like, all of our kids will want to; they will all want to carry it on,” shared Andrea.