Multicultural store serves South Jersey Print
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Friday, 14 December 2012 03:26 PM America/New_York

KingdomBookstoreGifts-LivingFaithBookstore Manager Gwen Halimon has heard new visitors to her church say many a time that her South Jersey store is the “best-kept secret” of the area—and that’s something she plans to change.

Kingdom Bookstore at Living Faith Christian Center in Pennsaulken, N.J., opened its doors in October 2007 to continue its church members’ “spiritual growth and supplement the teaching that they were receiving from the pulpit ministry,” Halimon said.

Founded by late pastor Lamont McClean and his wife, Constance McClean, who is now senior pastor, the Philadelphia-area multicultural church sees more than 2,000 in attendance for Sunday services. 

“People from the outside, they’re very surprised if they’re not members of this church and they come for a particular event and they see a bookstore,” Halimon said.

To get the word out, the store posts information on the church marquee visible to commuters as they head into Philadelphia. It also runs spots on Praise 103.9, a major market gospel station in the metro area.

With approximately 3,000 square feet of space, including a café with table seating for 50, Kingdom Bookstore was designed by Integra Interactive. The ministry aims to cast a wider net to serve its community, especially since there is only one other independent store still in the area and because four local Christian independent stores have closed in the last three years.

Kingdom Bookstore also has a strong focus on gifts.

Most of the store’s gifts—anything from cards and door knockers to pillowcases and apparel—are functional and have scripture or Christian symbols in their design. Along with the usual companies in the Christian gift market, Halimon hunts for closeouts or unique items from “companies that are not the norm.”

Despite being a multicultural church, “our congregation doesn’t tend to buy things that are very ethnic,” said Rosemary Robinson, church administrator. “They go for the Christian products, but not things of a specific ethnicity.”

The store stocks a significant number of books and a wide variety of Bibles as well as DVDs and CDs, some signed by artists who hold concerts at the church—an outreach that likely will keep bringing in future customers.