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by Kelly Mori

Springfield — John Evans intended to open a store in the Upper Valley Mall this year. Instead, he’s opening two.

Evans, of Christian Armory LLC, has opened Christian Armory Bookstore near Sears. In February, he will open a nonreligious-based bookstore near JC Penney.

Opening a second store “wasn’t on my mind at the time,“ Evans said Monday while he waited on customers in the newly opened Christian Armory Store. “I had some discussions with the mall office about how B.Dalton and Walden books had left. I prayed about it and partners showed up from out of nowhere.”

The yet-to-be-named mainstream bookstore will contain new, used, rare and antique books, Evans said. He plans to have it opened by February.

The Christian Armory fills a void that Logos Christian Bookstore left when it closed in 2007, Evans said. He received confirmation of that Monday, when Clara Ritchie came into the store seeking a book by an author she had heard about.

“I’m so glad you’re here,“ she told Evans as he checked his computer for titles by the author.

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