Family Christian Stores announced this week it is closing its retail stores, including its Springfield location at Parkway Pointe.
The company is closing all of its 240 stores across 36 states, although it's unclear whether online sales will continue.
Ron Ayers, store manager at Family Christian, 3435 Freedom Drive in Springfield, said he said he found out about the closure on Feb. 23. He's not sure when the Springfield location will close, but it will likely involve selling down inventory first.
"We love being here and love ministry and serving," Ayers said. "Even if we can do that right now, we're going to."
Ayers said the store was previously Bethel Bookstore until Family Christian Stores purchased it in 1998.
The company, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2015, two years after becoming a nonprofit in 2013. All of the company's profits were donated to charity.
A spokeswoman for Family Christian Stores could not be reached for comment by email.
"After 85 years of serving the Christian community, Family Christian Stores is closing," said an automatic response via email. "It has been a privilege to serve alongside our many partners in helping people find, grow, share and celebrate their faith"
An email sent Feb. 24 to customers by Family Christian president and CEO Chuck Bengochea explained the decision to close retail stores.
"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," Bengochea said. "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."
Contact Patrick Yeagle at [email protected].