The shop is set up in the location of a previous shop that sold Christian books and merchandise.
Kevin Adams has always wanted to own a bookstore; when he was in college, he ran a small, in-home business, but he had never operated a brick-and-mortar store.
In August, Adams finally realized his dream when he opened FIT Books, a Christian book and gift shop in Ocoee.
When Adams learned all the Family Christian Stores, including three in Central Florida, were closing, he saw his chance to fill the void and open his own store. He prayed about it and then purchased some of the FCS inventory.
He named his shop FIT Books, Freedom in Truth, after his favorite Bible verse — “John 8:32: “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
The store is set up in the old Family Christian storefront in the shopping center south of the West Oaks Mall. Adams kept the same phone number to make it easier for shoppers who frequented the old business.
Merchandise at FIT Books includes hundreds of book titles, ranging from memoir to self-help to children's books. There are books on marriage and relationships, Bible studies, Christian living and commentaries, as well as Biblical dictionaries and encyclopedias.
The store offers Bibles in different languages, including Spanish, French, Portuguese and Chinese. There's a selection of about 500 other Spanish books, as well.
The store owner lives in Pine Hills and ministers at a local Haitian church, where there is a huge French community.
“That's what makes us distinct,” he said. “Being family-owned, we want to equip those language communities. We have a Chinese Bible over there, and as that grows we will enhance that and grow that, as well.”
In the children's section, there are books, videos and music.
“We have a lot of stuffed animals for babies and kids,” he said. “That wasn't really part of the plan, getting in the merchandise, but you have to have merchandise in a Christian book store.”
Standing crosses, Nativities, photo frames and other wall hangings are for sale, too.
Adams said he can special-order customers's requests if he doesn't have something in stock.
Twenty years ago, Adams was attending Bible college and seminary. He has had careers as a high school and college teacher and in pastoring and church planting, both in Missouri and Central Florida. Locally, he partners with Word on the Street Ministries and Matthew's Hope.
“If you sum me up in one word, that would be equipping,” he said. “That's what I do, this is just another aspect of what I do, equipping the ministry.”
In fact, “Equipping the church, engaging the community” is painted in big letters above the cash registers.
“Being a locally owned and operated business affords me the opportunity to both tailor our services to the demographics of the community and pour back into the community,” Adams said. “Whether we are running summer camps … or a business in Ocoee, we desire to engage the community for the sake of the Kingdom of God. This is all for Him.”