2010 looks like its going to be a busy year for Open Door Trading Ltd. Not only incorporating No Frontiers into our workload, we will be opening Open Door (Christian Bookshop) on October 9th. Based in the centre of Middlesbrough, we are buying the current Christian Bookshop (Footprints) run by John Gaines. There has been a Christian bookshop in Middlesbrough for many years – CLC then Footprints – now we pick up the baton to maintain a clear Christian witness on the high street. We will be building on the work done by faithful Christians over the years.
Open Door Trading currently supplies event and web retail services to Newfrontiers, No Frontiers and others, as well as other distribution services. We will be creating a friendly welcoming shop that is accessible to Christians as well as those who have not yet found faith. The store is on one of the main roads in town, near the bus station and a major shopping area. We’ll be stocking a good range of cards and gifts, as well as best selling and core books and music. Upstairs, we intend to open a quality second hand floor as an additional attraction to serious buyers.
The Christian bookshop trade has often faced significant issues; of late, major changes in suppliers, Amazon and other major online suppliers. Middlesbrough faces the additional issues of being regarded as one of the poorest areas in the country. It is reckoned that the town is well placed to be the worst affected by current government spending cuts (over 40% of employment is derived from council or government work).
So why is this a good time to buy a Christian bookshop? Well, it is clear that at times of national stress, many turn to faith and the Church for help — we want to reach out to non-Christians who are looking for someone beyond themselves. Secondly, there is a deep spiritual hunger in the UK: we want to supply resources that help churches and individuals reach out. Third, specialist knowledge and customer care opens up markets that don’t just want mass purchase: we have well trained specialist staff ready to serve! Fourth, there is a large demand in local churches to be well served – we will be going to our local churches, not just waiting for them to come to us.
Finally, it’s part of our overall plan to expand into all areas of Christian retailing – events, bookshop, web, who knows where else this journey will take us?!
Incidentally, our landlord is a Muslim – very gentle, very caring, very devout. But excited about having a Christian bookshop in one of his premises (as he has been with Footprints)! Strange hey? Who says God doesn’t move in mysterious ways!!!!!