Farewell to The Hub, Walsall: closing down October 2015

IN A PRESS RELEASE issued on Friday 10th July 2015, The Hub, Walsall — a survivor of the STL/Wesley Owen meltdown in 2009 — announced that it will be closing down in October this year, a decision which has come after much heart-searching and various attempts to find a viable way forward proved unsuccessful.

From the press release:

After more than five and a half years of diligent service to our community, and with great sadness, The Hub today announce our plans to close our Christian resource centre in Walsall town centre this coming October.

The Hub was founded in 2010 following the collapse of Biblica in late 2009. Biblica were one of the UK’s largest charities, and owners of 40 Wesley Owen stores, including the Walsall branch, as well as STL Distribution, then the largest distributor of christian books in Europe, and Authentic Media, a major publisher and distributor of Christian books, music, and DVDs. Although all three brands survived in some, much smaller form, our industry never fully recovered, and it was into this environment that The Hub was born.

In the past five years, The Hub has weathered the storm, which has seen the closure of all eight surviving Wesley Owen branches, more than 20 Living Oasis stores, and more independent and small-chain stores than can easily be counted, not to mention dozens of publishers, distributors, wholesalers and other suppliers who have been forced to close, or dramatically restructure their business.

In August 2014, The Hub signed a short-term to extension the lease at our Stafford Street property, with a view of continuing to assess our long term viability. This extension expires this coming October, at the same time as Christine, one of our directors, and primary bookkeeper, retires—more than 12 months after her initial plan to do so…

As well as running The Hub, Luke Hughes-Bunger has been a frequent conversation partner with and contributor to this blog and to the Christian Authors, Booksellers and Publishers facebook group: I for one hope that will continue and take this opportunity to congratulate both Luke and Christine for all that they have achieved, largely against the odds. As Jesus would say, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”