Photos by Eric Vician Alicia Perez-Sandoval stands in front of some Christian art inside her Gifts of Faith store she recently opened at 110 Hunter Road in Valrico.
By Eric Vician, Times Correspondent
Published: September 4, 2015
Tampa Bay Times
Alicia Perez-Sandoval was vacationing in Puerto Rico when she noticed there was a need she could fill back home in Valrico.
A parishioner at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon, she realized the area was lacking in Christian bookstores that also catered to Spanish speaking customers.
In 2013, she opened Gifts of Faith near the Brandon Hospital to begin her retail journey, but her goal was always to own her own location so she could provide all the services her customers wanted. In July, Perez-Sandoval finished moving out of her rental space into a larger 1,700-square-foot store at 110 Hunter Road.
“I’m practically starting all over,” she said. “Little by little people are getting to know we are here.”
With the larger space, she now has a meeting room for her small Christian communities. Up to a dozen people meet weekly to review and reflect on Nativity’s Sunday Scripture readings a week ahead of time.
“This is more than a business, this is my ministry,” said Perez-Sandoval. “I like to share my faith with others. When non-Catholics come in, they have misconceptions.”
With the late 2014 closing of the Ave Maria Christian gift store after nearly 30 years in Brandon, Perez-Sandoval hopes customers will turn to her store for merchandising presents, but also gifts of faith.
She said cards and calendars from Blue Mountain Arts are very popular and novellas and books also are favorites.
Call (813) 653-3300 to find out more about what’s in stock and what’s happening at Gifts of Faith.