Kipperman’s Pawn Shop in Houston, Texas, is the only pawn shop/wedding chapel on the planet, according to its owner. The chapel is located behind a church facade inside the shop. It opened during the tough economic times of the early 1980s, when customers routinely hocked their wedding rings. Because Kipperman was reluctant to melt down “all those memories,” his collection of rings grew and grew. Kipperman says that In 1984, while he was considering what to do with the rings, God spoke to him and told him that a wedding chapel would be a good thing to build in the store.

Recorded in Houston, Texas. Premiered February 12, 1993, on All Things Considered.

This documentary comes from Sound Portraits Productions, a mission-driven independent production company that was created by Dave Isay in 1994. Sound Portraits was the predecessor to StoryCorps and was dedicated to telling stories that brought neglected American voices to a national audience.