Small business spreads the Word

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Small business spreads the Word
Posted April 2, 2008

God is no small matter for small business owner Terry Barber, president of Saint Joseph Communications Inc. in Covina, Calif.

For many Catholics and Christians, Terry Barber is their sole distributor and means of access to resources that allow them to learn more about their faith on a deeper level.

“We believe our works to be ecumenical and realize we all believe in one goal,” Monika Barber, conference coordinator and Terry’s daughter, said.

Saint Joseph Communications brings in more than $2 million a year in sales of DVDs, CDs, tapes and other resources related to Catholicism and Christianity used by churches and individuals around the globe.

“It really started in 1987,” Monika Barber said.

Terry was a real estate agent when his father fell ill and he moved home to help his family.

He needed something outside of the house to do and he started making audio transcripts of the Emmy-winning show, “Life is Worth Living.” Terry received permission to produce the transcripts and thus began his business of recording Catholic and Christian talks.

“It is important to us to make it as convenient as possible to people, to build their spiritual relationship with God,” Monika Barber said.

Monika Barber grew up in the business of providing people with information and resources to help them better understand their faith. As a child she traveled to many conferences her father was responsible for recording and now she is in charge of coordinating those events.

“No other business has what we have to offer,” Monika Barber said. “We are the largest distributor of audio and visual Catholic materials in the world.”

Though the primary goal of the business is to provide Catholic resources, Saint Joseph works with Christian organizations to produce some recordings.

The Catholic Resource Center is a store in Covina also started and owned by Terry that provides books and other materials and not just recordings.

“It is something I believe in,” Robyn Norris, employee of eight years said.
Norris started working for Saint Joseph before transferring to the Resource Center.

Production takes place at the Saint Joseph office in Covina and that location receives orders. The Resource Center is a store people can walk into and buy products.

Norris said the goal of the store is to help Catholics understand their faith and why they believe what they believe.

She said she enjoys working for Terry Barber.

“Terry is a little go-getter,” Norris said. “He is a very honest man and he will do what he can to the extent he is able for anybody.”

Some of Terry Barber’s employees are not Catholic and he treats them with equal respect and understanding.

“He is a very good and moral man.” Norris said. “Anyone would be lucky to have him as a boss.”

Other employees feel the same way and recognize that Terry Barber is rare among employers.

“He is very understanding,” Dolores Mc Adam, in accounts receivable said.

“He wants work done and done right, but family is first,” she said.

Employees are allowed to leave to take care of family matters, but they know they are expected to come back and do their jobs.

“We receive about 50 phone orders per day and 100 to 300 via e-mail,” Monika Barber said.

One of the goals of the company is the make the products accessible to everyone and that means producing a high quality product with a low price and that does hurt the company.

Saint Joseph also makes many products available for free or for a suggested donation.

Monika Barber said her father is not in the business to get rich.

“He firmly believes what we do is not for our personal success, but the glory of God,” she said.

“As long as they walk away with a better outlook on life, that is what we aim for in every customer,” Monika Barber said.

The business may be small, but it is mighty.

Two of the main competitors are Catholic Answers and Catholic Productions, but neither come close to the product available and the widespread accessibility of Saint Joseph Communications.

They currently have distributors in England, the Philippines, Guam and Canada.

Recently, the company signed to provide over $1 million worth of product to Australia for World Youth Day, an event started by Pope John Paul II in 1986 to help young Catholics meet other Catholics and learn more about their faith.

Terry Barber also received an award from the U.S. Marine Corps for no cost recordings he provides to the troops in Iraq on three U.S. bases.

Saint Joseph products can be ordered over the telephone at 800-526-2151 or online at www.saintjoe.com.

Over 150 thousand downloadable recordings were made available March 3 on the site in an effort to make the products more easily available.

“We have the ultimate goal of bringing people to God,” Monika Barber said.

When asked why her father was not willing to speak about his business, Monika Barber said he is very humble and unassuming.

Susan Acker can be reached at sacker@ulv.edu.