New Christian bookstore adds personal touch

Students searching for a place to buy Christian books, CDs and videotapes have a new place to shop.

Nestled within the Abundant Life and Restoration Ministries church at 1609 Branch St.  – behind Augusta R.A.A Middle School –  is the ALARM Christian Book Store.

“We don’t claim to be the biggest store, but we are able to connect with our customers,” said Pearlina Simmons, a FAMU graduate student and the store’s director.

FAMU graduate Sequeria Lawler and FSU graduate student Leslie Collins both rave about the stores friendly atmosphere, selection of books and music.

“They know me by name,” Collins said. “The staff sends me e-mails if they get a shipment of something they know I am interested in.”

Lawler likes the idea of not feeling rushed when she browses the store.

“I go (to the bookstore) to find Christian inspirational books. I might not buy anything, but the staff is so kind and friendly I want to come back,” Lawler said.

Christian living books seem to be very popular among college students who shop at ALARM.

“People are looking for spiritual answers to life’s problems,” Pearlina said, “that is why the books seem to be popular.”

Lawler said one of her favorite books found only at the bookstore is “Selah! Spiritual Principles for Single Life.” The author of the book is the church’s pastor Apostle Alvin D. Stewart. The book is a guide for single Christians.

“People are under the assumption that marrying someone will make you whole. But, you need to be complete in Christ first. That is what the book helps to teach you,” Lawler said.

The book also has a section about being a single parent, which Lawler also found helpful.

“I am a single parent. And your first priority should be your child and creating a stable home for that child,” she said.

Another highlight of the bookstore is its music selection. The store has a variety of selection from  artists like praise and worship singer Israel Houghton and Lisa McClendon, who sings neo-soul music with a Christian message.

“You would not hear about artists like these at a Target or Family Christian Stores,” Lawler said.

An added attraction to the store is its low prices.

“We have everyday low prices and if an item is not in stock we order it and give special discounts,” Pearlina said.

The CDs range from $9.99 to $14.99 and books range from $11.99 to $19.99.

“Their CDs and books are very affordable and that’s very important for college students,” Collins said.

ALARM is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday and Saturday.

Melissa Brown can be reached at