Just down from the food court on the third level of the North County Fair in Escondido, in the same row as Gromitz, Wet Seal, and Pacific Eyes & T’s, sits a new retail outlet that may seem to fit right in with the others. Each attracts a young shopper, with clothing, caps, music, jewelry and stickers.
C28 is the name, but it’s not the same! This store is about Jesus.
The name, C28, is based on Colossians 2:8, “not about this world but all about Christ.”
Owner Aurelio F. Barreto has other stores in Temecula, Riverside and Santa Ana and he certainly would like to make a profit in the venture. However, that’s not why he’s in business.
“Our purpose is to share the life-changing gospel message of grace, truth and love found in Jesus Christ,” he said during a recent interview.
The store is sponsoring a free concert on Friday, Nov. 7, 5:30-8 p.m., outside food courtyard, with in-store signing. Featured artists include Rock n Roll Worship Circus, Seventh Day Slumber and Stereo Motion.
“This is our third concert,” Barreto said. “The first one was last November in the rain in Temecula and 5,000 people came. The gospel is preached and people are saved.”
It’s not unusual for stores to keep records on a bulletin board in the back room, but the figures that matter to Barreto are different than the typical Top Salesman numbers. C28 keeps track of salvations, with the total reaching 217 in late October.
The C28 owner recalled the first salvation in the Escondido store, the day after it opened in mid-August:
“A hardened young man walked into the store with a ‘666’ tattoo on his hand. He asked Tim, our store manager, what C28 was about and where the ‘ideas’ came from. Tim told him the ‘truth’ comes from the Bible.
“Tim began sharing the life-changing gospel message of grace, truth and love of Jesus with him. An hour later the young man broke down sobbing as he realized he was not living for anything. Tim asked him if he was ready to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and he looked at Tim and said, ‘Yes.’
“Later in the day, the young man’s older brother came into the store with the same ‘666’ tattoo. Tim almost panicked. The man walked directly towards Tim looking him straight in the eyes. He asked Tim, ‘What have you told my brother? I have never seen him happier.’ Tim spent time sharing the gospel with him. He then asked Tim, ‘Can I also have this? What my brother now has?’ Tim then proceeded to lead him to the Lord. What a great day in the Lord that was!”
“Our mission is to share the life-changing gospel message of grace, truth and love found in Jesus Christ,” he said. “Our message is that it’s not about this world, but it’s all about Jesus Christ.”
Those words — “Not Of This World” or NOTW – is what Barreto named his own line of clothing. It’s turned out to be the store’s bestseller.
So, how did Aurelio F. Barreto III get his vision from God to have Christian stores in malls across the nation?
It’s an interesting story and it’s fully explained on his unique web page, www.c28store.com. What’s different about the web page? He doesn’t try to sell you anything, other than the gospel. The page has Barreto’s testimony, plus the sinner’s prayer, and advice about dating, rock music and other practical issues for teens of today.
Barreto’s testimony is that after 10 years of working to “have it all” and the sale of his international company Dogloo, Inc., he was a millionaire. However, he felt he lacked purpose in life.
“I was a responsible man, a moral man, I loved my family and prayed every night, but I had never heard the gospel nor did I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ until March 18, 1998. I accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life!”
“My life began to change from a self-centered life to a God-centered life. I began to experience the peace I never had before and the assurance of my salvation. I began attending church and was baptized as my public acknowledgment of my new-found faith in Jesus. I joined a Bible study and began obeying the words in the Bible. I listened to multiple daily sermons on the radio. I could not get enough of God!
“I began praying that God would use the gifts and talents He had given me, for His glory. In December 1999, while driving home through Victorville, the Lord led me to a little store called Christian Headshop. The store was very cool, like nothing I had ever seen before! It was that night that God gave me the vision. about opening Christian stores for youth. Initially, I was not sold on the idea since it did not make much business sense to start a retail store in this day and age. I prayed for months, I wanted to be obedient to God even though there were many uncertainties.
“This retail concept had never been proven before. There are thousands of Christian stores, but none just for youth. Only by prayer and faith did I proceed. I started praying about a name and after much prayer C28 (Colossians 2:8) became evident since it brought Jesus Christ all the glory! In April 2001, after much opposition from malls, the Lord opened our first door at the Tyler Mall in Riverside! It was all about praying, obeying and trusting in God’s sovereignty. God began opening doors!
“There have been many challenges, but with God’s strength and direction we have persevered. God is faithful.
“For 38 years no one ever shared the gospel with me! I was one of those that looked like I had everything, but was actually lost inside. We want to help youth realize God’s plan for them without having their life pass them by.”
Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”