Faith Bookstore began as a servicemen’s ministry along with Faith Presbyterian Reformed Church in the mid 1950’s. It first featured a reading room providing Christian books. Then as people showed interested in buying books for themselves, one of store’s first managers, Jay Poel, began to source books from the U.S. mainland to sell locally. The store developed under his enterprising leadership and received its first business license circa 1959. From its inception, the store was owned by Christian Reformed World Missions, and in 2003, ownership was transferred to the board of Berean, Inc., a local, non-profit organization.
Mr. Conrad Douma, a dynamic businessman from Chicago and California, succeeded Mr. Poel and expanded the store even further by growing friendships throughout the churches of Micronesia.The store and Faith Church shared a ground floor on Marine Drive across from East Agana Bay, under the cliff line just east of Citibank.
The store filled a dearth of reading material throughout Guam and Micronesia. The inventory expanded to include every sort of printed material including USGS topographic maps, fiction of all kinds, classical literature, educational aids and especially any publication about Guam and Micronesia that could be found. Secular and religious sales were approximately equal for some years.
During the 1980’s, store manager Sid Norman stewarded the move to the Agana Shopping Center at the end nearest Route 4 where Wendy’s is now located. The store had outgrown its original Marine Drive location. A couple of years later, under the management of Julius Kuiper, it moved to a 4,800 square-foot space in the southwest leg of the Agana Shopping Center where it prospered.
From the mid-80’s until 1992, Rev. Henry De Vries assumed store management. During the 1990’s, Guam suffered from quite a few typhoons with some damage. Fearing more, Rev. De Vries opened another store in the Compadre’s Mall in Dededo in 2000. In December 2002, Typhoon Pongsona hit and destroyed the Agana Shopping Center along with the original Faith Bookstore, so the Compadres Mall store served well as insurance.
The store was able to contribute significantly to Pacific Islands University (then Pacific Islands Bible College) for the purchase of its campus,along with the prison ministry of Chaplain Dave Allen. For 35 years, Faith Bookstore had been the only significant public outlet for print material in Micronesia and business was brisk. By the mid 90’s, other ventures began, with some folding. Then ‘I Love Books’ opened in 1998, with a presence that took hold and developed beyond Faith Bookstore’s capacity and mission. At the same time, the industry was changing dramatically with the advent of electronic suppliers, so a new business model modified the strategy for any future development. Christian Reformed World Missions also decided that their work on the island had come to completion with Faith Church successfully rebuilding and other ministries now being self-supporting. In September 2003, papers were signed in the Dededo store handing the whole operation over to the board of Berean, Inc. Nancy Van Dox became the manager and Rev. and Mrs. De Vries returned to parish ministry in Michigan.
In 2005, Faith Bookstore relocated from their Dededo store back to Agana, this time next to McDonald’s.
In 2009, Mrs. Van Dox retired and Ahyen Madrid was selected by the Berean, Inc. board to be the store’s next manager. Mrs. Madrid’s first big job was to see to it that the Guam community knew that even though the store moved from one place to another over the past few years, its doors are still open for ministry. She directed her efforts to building a database for promotion and marketing with the goal of expanding awareness among customers and the wider marketplace of the store’s wide array of offerings which now includes a robust gift store, as well as books. To accommodate more customers, Faith Bookstore moved to its present location in Hagatna in 2015.
With God as the Ultimate Manager and Owner of Faith Bookstore, the board and staff will continue to serve and provide customers with inspirational books and gifts that will help build stronger relationships for as long as God allows the store’s doors to be open.
The store’s friendly staff are devoted to serving and to making Faith Bookstore & Gift Shop a place where faith, family and friends meet. God bless you.