WEST BEND — Perfect Timing Gift Shop owner Maria Lopez found the perfect timing to open up her new business in downtown West Bend.
Perfect Timing Gift Shop, 111 North Main St., opened on July 21, selling photography prints, inspirational gifts, greeting cards and new and used Christian books.
Lopez started taking photos in 2009. She was inspired by the intricacies of nature and how they are woven together. She began to print inspirational Scripture verses or a single word onto her photos, and soon, her family and friends wanted her to create images for them. Others approached her, wanting an image with a specific Bible verse or phrase.
“The inspiration comes from really wanting to uplift and encourage people to live the one life they’re given, and to use it to be blessed and to bless others,” she said.
An online store called Maria’s Gift was launched in 2012 to support Extraordinary Life Ministries projects, the ministry Lopez has with her husband, Joel Lopez. The couple traveled around the U.S. to encourage families and give talks on strengthening marriage and family, all while Lopez took photos of the different places they visited.
Lopez is also an author who was working on a book about timing when the name “Perfect Timing” came to her. Her store’s motto, “A place for a time like this,” soon followed.
Lopez published her first book in 2012 titled, “Fear NOTHING and LIVE the Extraordinary.” She has since published several other titles based on needs she has seen. Her newest title, “Masterpiece! Learning to Live Within My Giftedness,” is a workbook and study guide about owning gifts given by God which will be released soon.
She hoped to open the gift shop earlier this year, but her plans changed due to COVID-19 and the opening was delayed several times.
“Little did I know a place for a time as this was going to be a place for a time as this,” she said.
Lopez said she had prayed about the business and received several signs to begin.
She had previously ran a 5K race and received the number 111, which is a biblical number representing the Holy Trinity. The address of Perfect Timing is 111 North Main St. While she was viewing the property, the building’s owner said the viewing had “perfect timing” since it had not yet been remodeled.
The final sign for Lopez to open came after she prayed to God one of her children would make an offering. A couple days later, she was telling her daughter about her venture. After leaving, her daughter texted her that she had been saving money for a good cause and wanted to offer it to her.
Beginning in mid-August, Perfect Timing will host speakers on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m. for “Stories of Faith Inspiring Others.”
Each week will welcome a local speaker sharing their story of survival and how their faith helped them to over the hardship, such losing a child at a young age, divorce and sickness.
“Many times, we hear about the adversity or hardships, but not about the heart of the matter, how they overcame to become stronger and have victory” said Lopez.
She is currently in the process of acquiring more tables and chairs so listeners can social distance.
Proceeds from Perfect Timing will benefit the Extraordinary Life Prayer Garden Sanctuary in Allenton. The private sanctuary, located on the land Lopez bought with her husband, hosts retreats.
The garden is decorated with photos and posters created by Lopez.
“Now that I’m here, I’m not doing a lot of retreat days, but we want to still continue to build up that prayer garden sanctuary on that land,” said Lopez.
She plans to add a bridge to connect the two sides of the garden, wheelchair accessible paths, brick pathways, sitting places, more trees, large rocks with Bible verses, art sculptures, inspiration signs using her photography and a veteran’s corner.