FAIRBORN — A familiar Chrisitan resource in the center of town is back in business under new ownership.
Previous owner Lynn Berry closed the Faith Christian Bookstore doors Dec. 30 after more than 30 years of service to the Fairborn community.
“I went in a few days before Christmas to buy a Bible for someone and saw that it was closing. It broke my heart,” said Todd Anderson, who grew up in Fairborn and has been a customer of the shop for many years. “Not only were we losing a Christian resource that has been here so long, but a place that has been a part of so many people’s lives. It sparked something in me, and I prayed a lot about it.”
Berry bought the store in 1978 with the goal of supplying the Christian community with quality materials. He previously worked as manager for eight years with a major bookstore chain and used his experience to start his own store. His shop offered church supplies, gifts, Bibles and more.
Anderson worked with Berry to make the sale of the store happen as quickly as possible, and the shop reopened on Jan. 18.
“Mr. Berry planned for the 30th to be his last day and my presence meant several more weeks of work for him,” Anderson said. “But presently, I know he’s very pleased we opened back up. This is something he’s put a great deal of his life into and I stand here honored. In working with the community, distributors and publishers, I’ve learned this man has a tremendous reputation.”
Anderson, a 1989 graduate of Fairborn High School, said he is “local-minded” and it is important to him to grow the Faith Christian Bookstore’s reach within the community. He hopes to do more community outreach with the local churches as well as offer the space for Bible studies, group meetings and fellowship gatherings. He plans to add more seating where patrons can come relax and read or listen to music.
“Fairborn is a great town and there is a lot of potential here, but it takes the whole community to help it grow,” he said. “I see this as a ministry. Christ is in us everywhere we go, but you are really in the presence of God here.”
There will be an open house at the store from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 12 with light music, refreshments and fellowship to reintroduce the public to the shop at 4 West Main St.
“We already have a lot of returning customers,” said Anderson. “The weather has been so bad that with the glimpse of sunshine we have had pretty steady traffic the last couple days. I anticipate a burst of energy once the weather warms up some more.”
The new owner has never actually worked in retail so this is a completely new experience for him. He has a background in construction and trucking, specifically in petroleum recycling and non-hazardous and hazardous waste removal and disposal.
“This is an extreme contrast to what I know, but I am learning,” Anderson said. “I definitely underestimated how much goes into retail, the time required and the work behind the scenes. But I have had a lot of help.”
One employee from the bookstore, with more than 16 years retail experience, has stayed on part-time. Anderson’s mother has taken on the card section as her project, and his aunt and some friends have helped color coordinate the gift displays.
Anderson is currently working to rebuild the inventory and plans to maintain many of the items the store has offered while expanding the children’s section, cards, music and gift options. He would also like to look at ways to incorporate more current forms of media such as digital books.
The current store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Call the Faith Christian Bookstore at 937-878-1073.