Less than a fortnight into the new year and news has emerged of another Christian bookshop preparing to close its doors, with the blame laid squarely on the combined effect of the current economic climate and online competition:
Hastings Christian bookshop closing
Published Date: 08 January 2009
By Richard Gladstone
Another Hastings town centre shop is closing after 45 years of service.
Pathways Christian Bookshop in Robertson Street is shutting at the end of January.
The store started in the 1960s and moved to its present site in 1994.
Although run as a business the bookshop is also registered as a charity and has been run for all these years by dedicated volunteer staff, many of whom have managed the shop well into their retirement age.
The shop currently has 20 volunteers.
Ruth Fletcher, senior staff member, said: “It is sad to see the shop go after all these years although I look forward to retiring and having a nice rest.
“Like many businesses it has been fighting competition with on-line shopping and the recent economic recession has been the final pressure that has seen them off. Even without having to pay staff wages it is impossible to meet the cost of rates and overheads.”
In a letter to the Hastings & St Leonards Observer, however, Paul Minter, a resident of nearby Bexhill, asks some searching questions and has issued a challenge to local churches to take action and save the shop:
How can 50 Local churches let this happen?
We need a Christian presence in town centres. We need the word of God as available as a tin of beans or a newspaper. I don’t have any connection with the people who run this shop or know the details behind the closure – but I do believe we can reverse this process and make this shop successful. But it’s down to each individual Christian! How much is this shop/ a Christian presence in the town centre worth to you? A pound? £5 Even £10? Also to authority of each church locally. I urge you to be the first to support this shop. Put ego and pride aside. Put aside denominational differences.
If you are planning to visit and grab a bargain – shame on you. May I suggest you offer to pay the full asking price, not the sale price. Then next time you need a Christian book, you’ll still have somewhere to go!
To the owners I suggest you put a box on the counter and let local Christians make a contribution to the future of your/ our shop. I think you may be surprised at the response.
Until then you are in my prayers and if there is anything I can do, just ask.
Let’s join with Paul in prayer and hope his call hasn’t come too late.