Along with of­fices and ware­house space, ren­o­vated build­ing fea­tures large re­tail store that’s now open

The Woolwich Observer - - FRONT PAGE - FAISAL ALI

ONCE HOME TO A farme­quip­ment dealer, an Elmira site has been trans­formed into the new head­quar­ters of Liv­ing Wa­ters Chris­tian Book­store.

The newly com­pleted ren­o­va­tions of the for­mer Premier Equip­ment build­ing west of down­town Elmira al­lowed the com­pany to move from Lin­wood. In ad­di­tion to of­fices, the lo­ca­tion fea­ture ware­house space and a re­tail store un­der one roof.

The fa­cil­ity joins four re­tail lo­ca­tions that of­fer books/read­ing ma­te­rial, in­door and out­door games, Bi­bles and re­li­gious ma­te­rial, kitchen­ware and gift items, among oth­ers.

The Elmira re­tail op­er­a­tion opened its doors late last month, just in time for the Christ­mas sea­son.

“It’s been re­ally good,” says Derek Martin, a share­holder of Liv­ing Wa­ters, about the re­cent move to Elmira. “It went very, very smoothly com­pared to what could all go wrong, so we’re very thank­ful and grate­ful for that.”

With the move to Elmira com­plete, Martin says that he hopes the new lo­ca­tion will al­low Liv­ing Wa­ters to be­come even more ac­ces­si­ble to a wider range of peo­ple, from Kitch­ener to the south and Guelph to the east, the town­ships, and as far as Strat­ford and Lis­towel to the west.

The busi­ness was started by Martin’s par­ents, Paul and Rose, in 2004 in the vil­lage of Lin­wood. The younger Martin de­scribes his par­ents’ mo­ti­va­tion as a call­ing, but for the younger Martin, Liv­ing Wa­ters be­came a part of his child­hood and ado­les­cent ex­pe­ri­ence. He grew up with the busi­ness, he says, and grew into it as he reached adult­hood. But that only ex­plains the ‘how’ of it.

“I’m a share­holder now, so that’s great. But re­ally, that doesn’t de­fine – that has noth­ing to do with why I’m in­volved in it,” ex­plains Martin.

“Rather it’s about the mes­sage and what we’re try­ing to por­tray in this com­mu­nity, both to ex­ist­ing Chris­tians and their walk with the Lord, but also non-Chris­tians,” he says. “And just giv­ing a re­source, giv­ing an ac­cess point where they can come to and find good morals, good in­spi­ra­tional prod­ucts, and an at­mos­phere as well that should fit that, and hope­fully even ex­ceed.”

To that end, Liv­ing Wa­ters keeps a fine bal­ance be­tween of­fer­ing va­ri­ety while also cater­ing to the spe­cific needs of its cus­tomers.

“This is prob­a­bly what sep­a­rates us from most Chris­tian book­stores in the mar­ket,” says Martin. “The first part here is that we have a large bible sec­tion, which there aren’t many other book­stores that have the same. And we don’t carry a large fic­tional line, and that is prob­a­bly the big­gest cat­e­gory in the Chris­tian mar­ket that we see on the shelves.”

In­stead, the fo­cus is on the sto­ries that will in­spire, and help peo­ple lead full, good lives.

“A lot of day-to-day in­spi­ra­tional, whether it’s a de­vo­tional, whether it’s a daily cal­en­dar, and then also new re­leases. And then I’d say a good se­lec­tion of true sto­ries. Whether it’s mir­a­cles from around the world, whether it’s mis­sion­ar­ies, whether it’s lo­cal events, we put a lot of true sto­ries.”

With lit­er­ally thou­sands, if not mil­lions, of books in the re­li­gious cat­a­logue, Liv­ing Wa­ters makes a

com­mit­ment to stock­ing its shelves with new re­leases and in-de­mand items, while of­fer­ing plenty of other op­tions on the shelves. The busi­ness is also happy to or­der in items for their cus­tomers to en­sure they’re get­ting ex­actly what they’re look­ing for

“As a whole, we’re here to help their needs. So if they’re look­ing for a bible study on a par­tic­u­lar sub­ject, our goal is not to shift their sub­ject into a dif­fer­ent sub­ject, but to find the book that best fits there need,” says Martin.

There are toys, movies, kitchen­ware, mu­sic and a va­ri­ety of other prod­ucts avail­able at the store lo­ca­tion, as well as on­line for pur­chase. But at its heart, Liv­ing Wa­ters is still a tra­di­tional Chris­tian book­store, says Martin, with a strong com­mit­ment to val­ues and to morals that ex­tends to their en­tire line of prod­ucts.

While the book and toy store is al­ready open for busi­ness, Martin notes that they plan to have an of­fi­cial grand open­ing on Novem­ber 29, 30 and De­cem­ber 1. Shop­pers and browsers can pass by the store dur­ing busi­ness hours at 122 Church St. W., or visit the on­line store at www.lwcb. shop.


Krista Martin, floor man­ager at the Liv­ing Wa­ters Book and Toy Store, joins her hus­band and com­pany share­holder Derek Martin at the com­pany’s new Elmira lo­ca­tion, the for­mer Premier Equip­ment site on Church Street West that was ren­o­vated to in­clude of­fice, ware­house and re­tail space.

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