LifeWay Christian Bookstores To Close In Arizona

Published: Saturday, July 27, 2019 - 5:05am
Updated: Monday, July 29, 2019 - 8:49am
Christina Estes/KJZZ
LifeWay plans to close all 170 retail locations by the end of 2019 to focus on digital operations.

After four years in Arizona, a national chain is closing its Christian bookstores.

LifeWay Christian Stores has already closed its shop at 7401 W. Bell Road in Peoria and, later this year, its second Arizona store at 1859 S. Stapley Drive, Ste. 101 in Mesa will close.

LifeWay opened the Arizona locations in 2013 after acquiring them — and 15 others — from the Berean Christian Stores chain.

At that time, Thom S. Rainer, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, the parent company of LifeWay Stores, called it a tremendous opportunity.

“Berean, like LifeWay, is known for their commitment to serving church customers,” he said in August 2013. “The acquisition will significantly increase LifeWay’s opportunities for ministry across the country.”

In March 2019, LifeWay announced plans to close all 170 retail locations by the end of this year. Acting President and CEO Brad Waggoner said the decision was difficult.

“LifeWay has developed close connections with the communities where our stores are located, and we have been honored to serve those communities,” he said in a prepared statement. “We will continue serving local congregations as they meet the spiritual needs of their neighbors.”

The company, which is the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, will shift all operations online. Founded in 1891, Lifeway sells Bibles, Christian movies, and books and church supplies.

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