Thinking Out Loud

February 13, 2015

Family Christian Stores Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

[This article contained a video which is no longer available]

The management team at Family Christian Stores — the largest chain in the United States — believes that its best option to keep the stores open is to file for Chapter 11 protection.  Here’s the first few paragraphs on the story from Christianity Today:

Family Christian Stores (FCS) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Yet the ministry assured customers yesterday that it “does not expect” to close any of its more than 250 stores or lay off any of its approximately 4,000 employees.

“We strive to serve God in all that we do and trust His guidance in all our decisions, especially this very important one,” stated FCS president and CEO Chuck Bengochea. “We have carefully and prayerfully considered every option. This action allows us to stay in business and continue to serve our customers, our associates, our vendors and charities around the world.” …

With 266 stores in 36 states, FCS is the nation’s largest chain of Christian stores as measured by locations, not sales…

Continue reading at CT Gleanings (news page).

The CT story also links to this FAQ page concerning the filing.

An article at Publishers Weekly itemizes the major creditors:

Publishers are on the hook for millions of dollars led by HarperCollins Christian Publishers [Thomas Nelson and Zondervan] which is owed $7.5 million. Other publishers owed large sums include Tyndale House ($1.7 million), B&H Publishing Group ($516,414), FaithWords [Hachette Book Group] ($537,374), and Barbour Publishing ($572,002). Ingram’s Spring Arbor distribution arm is owed $689,533.

While the video is very optimistic, this development highlights the seriousness of the state of the Christian publishing industry. The amount of exposure that HarperCollins has in this means that it and other creditors will be watching closely to see what they can expect to get out of the restructuring.


  1. This is very interesting and sad really. I wonder if other Christian bookstore chains are struggling as well. Barna released a study last year that concluded even Christians are attending church less and less. If that is true, I think we would see some negative impact on stores that sell Christian stuff.

    Comment by Jim — February 14, 2015 @ 9:37 am

    • It’s been a tough year up here in Canada. 20 closings in 2014, and 6 already this year, most in major cities, too. Ottawa is closing today, our nation’s capital won’t have a Christian bookstore when they lock the doors tonight. You can follow our situation in Canada at my other blog which I write for Christian retailers here, Christian Book Shop Talk.

      The U.S. situation over the past few years has been similar.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — February 14, 2015 @ 9:49 am

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