Exodus History and Mission
A Short History:
The Mahar family started Exodus in March of 1994. Starting with about two bookcases full of their own books, and a few others of things on consignment from friends, they opened up a very small shop in Oregon City (about 700sf). With patience and a lot of hard work, they were able to develop their inventory until they outgrew that space and moved Exodus across the parking lot to a larger location. During that time, they also switched from consigning used books to purchasing outright, an approach we still take. It was through their efforts that Exodus became established.
After about four years, the time needed to keep things operating became overwhelming. With their other responsibilities pressing, Richard and Cheri decided to give their nephew (Eli Evans) the opportunity to run Exodus, selling it to him on April 1st, 1998. God has greatly blessed the store since then, surrounding Eli with good counselors, wonderful customers, and a committed staff. He took Eli's inexperience and silly ideas and somehow made them work. We have enjoyed meeting hundreds of Christian parents and children over the years, and have excitedly added thousands of books to our selection.
Caleb Crossman joined our staff in early 2008 and enabled Exodus to become what Eli would have only dreamed about. His professionalism and writing ability added hundreds of articles and reviews to the site during the seven years he was here. Photoshop artists Nathan Furumasu and Emily Wright have taken the site visually to new levels. Other employees past and present have all added wonderful dimensions to the store, and we are especially thankful for the contributions of Jeni Isaacson, Leah Marl, Zack Lyons, Nathan Dahlin, Jon Winslow, Zach Paul, Joseph Forster, Hadley Ayers, Natalie Poindexter, Rhiannon Hayes, Lauren Shearer and Maddie Shearer.
Many of our customers have encouraged us immensely by returning again and again, and by telling their friends about us. We have grown primarily due to their word of mouth recommendations. We grew enough that we moved to a larger location in Milwaukie in 2008, where we eventually had about 5,500 square feet of floor space and about 30,000 titles filling 230+ bookcases!).
Unfortunately, both market and personal difficulties converged in 2016-17, forcing us to temporarily close the store. But that wasn't the end of the story! God brought three families out of seemingly nowhere (the Gabe Winslow family, the Mark Hellweg family, and the James Dirksen family), who purchased the store and reopened it in April 2018. They handed full ownership back to Eli in March 2019 and we have been continuing to rebuild and expand ever since!
About Our Name:
In the beginning, the Mahars had the vision of a home school/Christian book, video and software store, and they decided to call it Exodus Multimedia Services. As the store developed, the multimedia name became more and more misleading—people expected them to have computer software that they simply didn't carry. It was dropped for the shorter Exodus Provisions and later shortened again to Exodus Books. But "Exodus" itself draws a lot of questions. So why the name?
Obviously, it's a Biblical allusion. The original exodus was the departure of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. While in slavery, the Israelites, God's covenant people, were oppressed with more than work; they were not allowed to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Although we are not slaves in the same sense they were, America has gone the way of Egypt; our government echoes Pharaoh's words: "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go." (Ex. 5:2) Our slavery is subtler, yet still obvious, especially in the forms of high taxes, fascist property laws and state-run education. We have denied God His place in our lives, and are seeing the results.
But there is hope. God delivered His people from captivity then; He delivered His people again and again—from Canaanites, Persians, Romans, and beyond. Do you think He can do the same for us? God's arm is not shortened: of course He can! We are convinced that the answer is a simple and clear YES!
Our Mission Statement:
To provide quality materials that help parents educate their children in the love and reverence of the Lord, and that help adults develop and promote their Christian faith in the midst of the humanist culture that surrounds us.
We intend to be part of an "exodus" from an apostate and enslaving worldview that ridicules the truth of our creation and despises our gracious Savior, and to glorify and enjoy our Maker in everything we do on earth.
About the owner:
Eli is the oldest of seven, and his parents pulled him and his next-oldest brother out of the public school system in 1987 (middle of his second grade year) and started home schooling them. While they started home schooling out of conviction, the Evans family loved it, and went on to use a combination of home and private school opportunities. Eli graduated as a correspondent student from Christian Liberty Academy (CLASS) in 1997 (his youngest brother graduated in 2014).
Home schooling allowed flexibility, so Eli had the chance to work several unique jobs before graduating. At 13, he worked for a company called Theological Research Exchange Network (TREN) duplicating microfiche. His employer there was quite interested in training him and taught him a lot about running a business. During that time, he developed a strong interest in music, and that led to a job at a local piano store (Carriage House Music). Eventually, they made him responsible for managing the sheet music section, which was a lot like running a bookstore! Eli was given the chance to start working at Exodus shortly after graduation (November 1997), and in April 1998 he signed papers to purchase the business from his uncle.
Eli married Amanda (also a home school graduate) in March 2005. Joshua arrived in January 2006, Lucy in October 2007, Esther in July 2009, Stephen in July 2011, and Aurora in November 2013. Unfortunately, their marriage did not last (the divorce was finalized in 2018), so Eli now divides his time between the store and solo-parenting/home schooling his kids. His Instagram account is @RackettyPackettyHouse.