Family Christian Stores, the world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise, is closing. Family Christian employs more than 3K people in more than 240 stores across 36 states.
A regular shopper at Family Christian, this writer received the correspondence below in an email early Friday morning:
Dear Family Christian Guests,
The cornerstone of the Family Christian organization is a commitment to serve God – whether that is through our retail stores, or any one of our ministry initiatives. I am very grateful for each and every one of you who have shopped our stores, and believed in our mission for so very long.
As with any worthwhile endeavor, there have been challenges and setbacks, as well as remarkable acts of service and self-sacrifice. The retail landscape is changing, however, and despite improvements in our product assortment and our store experience, we have not able to generate the sales necessary to sustain our business. We have fought hard because we deeply believe in our mission to help people find, grow, share and celebrate their faith in Jesus Christ.
We have had two very difficult years, and after prayerfully looking at all possible options, and trusting God’s plan for our organization, we have made the difficult decision to close our stores. Family Christian will begin the closing process soon.
As we end this chapter, we would like to thank you for walking along with us. Together, we have truly made an impact on the Kingdom by caring for more than 14 million people, here and abroad, in some of the world’s darkest places. We are deeply indebted to you.
Thank you for letting Family Christian be a part of your faith journey. Today and always, it has been privilege to serve.
In His Service,
President and CEO
Christian literary agent Steve Laube told Christianity Today that Family Christian’s closing “will have a deleterious effect on many communities which have relied on their local store for their Christian products, whether it be a greeting card, book, or Bible.
“While hard news for the publishing industry to absorb, I suspect most companies have limited their financial exposure,” he said. “Any loss is regrettable.”