Veteran Christian retailer moves away from church bookstore competitors, adds Scripture House location
Majesty Bible and Gifts’ California chain is reconfiguring its stores. Hary Daud and his wife, Hae Hi Daud, who have owned and operated Majesty for more than 20 years, planned to open a new store in Visalia in early November, but also opted to close their Sacramento-area location.
The new Visalia store in the San Joaquin Valley, located at 226 E. Caldwell Ave., was previously a Christian bookstore called Scripture House before the Dauds added it to their stores in Fresno and Turlock. It will close for a week of renovations, then reopen under the new name but with the same staff and management.
A number of factors such as economic considerations and travel distance led to the Dauds’ decision to close the Sacramento store, which was three and a half hours away from the main location in Fresno.
“It’s much easier to work from within [your current market] to do marketing,” he said. Everything from the radio station the store worked with for promotions to Majesty’s customer list was completely different, given the significant distance, and that made managing the operation more complicated.
Daud also cites the growth of competitors in the marketplace.
“Sacramento just has too many church-owned bookstores already meeting people’s needs for another store to do well in that market,” he reported.
While Daud had explored other cities, Visalia made good sense. With Majesty’s largest store in Fresno, the Turlock store to the north and the new Visalia store to the south, there are distinct customer bases that also will benefit from having sister stores in the area.
“It happens many times that we will explore an option and somehow the door is closed,” Daud said. “But the Lord’s timing and direction is always better than ours. We just do the part we are gifted.”
Daud also sees his wife as a good sounding board for such big decisions.
“My wife is very grounded and realistic, so very few ideas pass my wife,” he said. “But when she was on board, that was a good indicator to me that opening another store made sense.”
Although the couple felt a distinct calling to take on a new retail location, they didn’t take the addition lightly. They took the time to ask the Lord to supply everything from finances and space to the right team to help run the new store.
“Closing down one store and opening another has been challenging, but we’re so excited about what’s going on,” said Daud who first got interested in the business after he saw that his own ministry needs were not being met through a local Christian store.
When his pastor asked him to teach Sunday school, he decided he would serve though he had never taught children.
“I went to a bookstore looking for books to help me be a teacher, but I wasn’t able to find much or get much help,” he said. “So the next prayer I prayed was ‘Lord, let me be the one who can help people like me,’ and I started the store. I was in the Army prior to that and had degrees in mathematics and economics. My Dad had been in retail, so I had learned something by watching him.”
As for finding success in business, Daud says there’s “no one silver bullet.” In large part, however, he attributes the success he has had to his Majesty team.
“A lot depends on your supporting cast—in my case, my wife and my family and my staff,” he said. “You cannot waver. You have to be all in, as does your supporting cast. We are also focused on what we do—this is all we do. It’s also a great help to build a staff who share your vision. If not for my wife, my family and my store family, I couldn’t still be doing this.” —Deonne Lindsey