Retail chain Family Christian to close all 240 stores

Family Christian Stores announced Thursday it will close its doors after 85 years in business.

King-Gichrist and her mother Barbara King are longtime customers of what's billed as the world's largest Christian-themed retailer, with 240 locations in 36 states employing over 3,000 people.

"We have prayerfully looked at all possible options, trusting God's plan for our organization, and the hard decision to liquidate is our only recourse", Chuck Bengochea, the company's president, said in a statement. "Family Christian will begin the closing process soon", Chuck Bengochea, President and CEO of Family Christian, said in an email made available to The Gospel Herald. Family Christian Ministries has provided humanitarian aid for more than 14 million orphans, widows and oppressed people across the globe.

"Despite improvements in product assortment and the store experience, sales continued to decline", he noted.

Bengochea said the nonprofit company was not able to work out terms and pricing with its vendors that allowed it to compete in the market successfully.

When the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, it claimed sales had fallen 29 percent, to $216 million, since 2008.

No details of the plans to close the stores were included in the four-paragraph announcement. The entire Christian community-indeed the entire nation-will be poorer as a result of this pending closure.

Zondervan's bookstores were spun off in 1990s into Family Christian Stores after Harper Collins purchased the publishing house, which has since been merged with Nashville-based Thomas Nelson.

  • Zachary Reyes