Our founder, Philip A. Kaufer (fondly known as P.A.K.), was the editor of a newspaper in Minnesota when he decided to move West in the Fall of 1903. At the turn of the century it was very difficult for Catholics to obtain religious materials to enhance their faith. The nearest religious supply stores were east of the Mississippi River. To answer this need, and at the urging of local priests and nuns, the first Kaufer's store was opened in Tacoma, Washington in 1904. The Northwest cities of Tacoma and Seattle were booming because of the Alaska Gold Rush. Although the area was still not heavily populated, P.A.K. built up a fine clientele throughout the West, personally calling on churches in several states. He published our first catalog in 1905, the same year he opened our second store in Seattle. P.A.K. was also a musician and wrote the music to four complete Masses in addition to several hymns. He retired from the business in 1952 at the age of 84.
In those early years, it was not uncommon for P.A.K. to sell religious articles at the steps of a church from the back of his horse-drawn wagon. It is just as common today to see Kaufer's representatives at local churches after Sunday masses, or at parish and diocesan special events.
With bookstores and showrooms in Seattle, Spokane, and San Francisco, and a growing presence on the internet, "Kaufer's" maintains its family roots with a fourth generation of owners and managers. Though originally a supplier of Catholic books and supplies, we have expanded to include a wide variety of gifts, religious art, and music among our products, and various Christian denominations among our customers.