Christian retailer closing

Published 9:24 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Chesapeake Square Mall Family Christian store will close its doors after more than a decade of business.

The chain announced in February that it is shutting down all of its store locations across the country. The company has 240 stores and 3,000 employees in 36 states.

“Despite improvements in our product assortment and our store experience, we have not been able to generate the sales necessary to sustain our business,” Family Christian President and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Bengochea said in the announcement. “We have made the difficult decision to close our stores. Family Christian will begin the closing process soon.”

Email newsletter signup

Family Christian was founded as a bookstore and publishing enterprise in 1931 by brothers Pat and Bernie Zondervan. The company transitioned in 2012 from a for-profit enterprise to a non-profit distributor of Bibles and gospel tracks worldwide, as well as a donator to groups for orphans and widows.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015 in response to declining sales.

The company has not announced the timetable for the closures of its stores. Chesapeake Family Christian store management declined to comment.

Customers said they will miss the store when it eventually closes its doors for good.

“I’ve got friends that come up here a lot and shop in there,” mall customer Walt Davis said.

Chesapeake Square Mall general manager Ed Zivic said it has been a popular and well liked store for more than a decade.

“I think it’s kind of sad,” mall customer Crystal Archer said. “With how religion is today, having this here is nice.”