The owner of Williams Christian Bookstore, 132 W. Center St. in Sikeston, Williams recalled the idea for the business was inspired by a friend from East St. Louis. "Then I had a dream about it," she said. "I felt it was God's will that the store open."
That was back in 1996 and Williams went on to begin her bookstore in a small building on West Front Street. In 1998, she moved to the more spacious Center Street location.
Williams said the store's business has grown steadily over the years. As more people dedicate their lives to the Lord, she said they are in need of resources to grow in their faith and she has worked to provide these items.
Many first-time customers are surprised by the variety of merchandise available for today's Christians. "And they come back. They like shopping here," said Williams, who will stop and gives customers smiles and hugs as they browse.
A large section of the store is dedicated to books from the hardback books popular with toddlers to the bestsellers such as "A Life God Reward," the newest offering from Bruce Wilkinson, who wrote the popular "Prayer of Jabez." There are Bibles to fill every need from study Bibles to children's Bibles to family Bibles to be passed from generation to generation.
Music has an important role in today's churches and Williams Bookstore strives to meet their ranging needs. Customers can choose compact discs, tapes, DVDs, videos and musical instruments. Popular selections include Terry Macalmon's "Live Worship" and "Behind the Veil" by Juanita Bynum or for some quiet meditation there are drive-time devotionals.
Church leaders will find church and Sunday devotional materials, minister and choir robes, certificates and sheet music. Williams Bookstore does offer discounts to ministers purchasing items.
Most recently Williams added a line of women's clothing, appropriate for church and other dressy occasions.
When selecting merchandise for Williams Christian Bookstore, the owner explained she and store manager Karen Morgan listen to customers, ask for their input and look at what has proved popular. Whenever a customer can't find exactly the right item, Williams adds it can be special ordered and typically arrives in three to four days.
While the business' success is the result of hard work and prayers, Williams quickly credits it all to one person: "God - I'm dependent on him for everything. As long as I keep my faith in God, then everything else will fall in place."
And she is still listening to her dreams. Williams said she recently has dreamed of an even bigger store but that still is in the future.
Williams Christian Bookstore is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.