Barbara Bayless began her adventure operating a Christian bookstore in April of 1980, when the establishment was called The Lighthouse.
“It was when The Lighthouse was open on Chapman Highway,” Bayless told The Herald, “and they wanted a store here in Sevierville. They decided they couldn’t handle the extra store, so they sold the Sevierville location to a couple who held it for about six months.”
Shortly afterward, Bayless came along and saw an opportunity. In late 1982, she purchased the store, and in 1984 a partner, Lucille Shreve, came into the business with her.
“She retired in 2003,” Bayless said, “and for much of that time, she ran the store, as I was as yet not retired from my position at UPS.”
Since retiring and taking over The Master’s Touch full-time about 13 years ago, she’s found that things have changed quite a bit.
“Event though you’re an owner and you have a lot of stress with your business, it’s nothing like the stress of working for another company,” Bayless said. She finds the stress is mitigated by the knowledge that the buck stops with her.
Some days are better than others, Bayless admits.
“Today, the first thing I did was balance the checkbook to decide who I needed to pay first,” Bayless said with a laugh.
Bayless says that the main challenge facing her business today is the traffic snarls where Highway 66 and Dolly Parton Parkway meet.
“People get stuck in this traffic and they don’t want to get out,” Bayless said, gesturing out her font window where rush-hour cars were jammed bumper-to-bumper.”
The hottest item at The Master’s Touch are King James large-print bibles, Bayless said.
But she is quick to point out that her store is a full-service Christian bookstore in Sevier County, offering not just books and bibles, but also music, apparel, gifts, and church supplies. “We’re the only store we know of that carries bulletins, postcards, communion ware, offering plates, and things like that.”
The store is currently holding a special on contemporary Christian music, with an extensive selection of CDs and cassettes, much of it under 15 dollars. They also carry the recordings of many local gospel groups, including Integrity, the Kingdom Aires, and Greater Vision.
The Master’s Touch is located in the Sevierville Commons shopping center at 532 Winfield Dunn Parkway in Sevierville. They are open Monday through Fridays 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. except Wednesdays, when they are open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. You can reach them at (865) 428-0231.

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