Bethany Clough

This Christian store in Fresno is closing, saying brick-and-mortar ‘no longer viable’

LifeWay Christian Stores is closing all its brick-and-mortar stores, including the one in Fresno.
LifeWay Christian Stores is closing all its brick-and-mortar stores, including the one in Fresno. The Fresno Bee

The parent company of LifeWay is closing all its 170 Christian stores, including one in Fresno, as it switches to an online-only business.

The LifeWay store in Fresno at 5336 N. Blackstone Ave. has already started its closing sale. The store is in the same shopping center as GW School Supply and the now-empty Trader Joe’s spot, which moved north.

LifeWay moved to the spot in 2015, after leaving River Park and changing its name from Berean Christian Store to LifeWay.

The company is still accepting gift cards. The closing sales will last two or three months, but all the brick-and-mortar locations are expected to close by the end of 2019.

“While we had hoped to keep some stores open, current market projections show this is no longer a viable option,” said Brad Waggoner, president and CEO, in a statement.

The company sells bibles, baby and wedding gifts, Christian music, Christian games and church supplies like communion cups.

Lifeway will continue selling on its website, and continue its publishing, events and church services business. The company was founded in 1891.

Like other retailers, LifeWay has seen its customers move online, the company said in a statement. It interacts with five times as many people through its online operation as it does in stores.

The move will leave one less Christian store in Fresno. In 2017, Family Christian Stores closed its location at Shaw and Marks avenues.

Bethany Clough covers restaurants and retail for The Fresno Bee. A reporter for 20 years, she now works to answer readers’ questions about business openings, closings and other business news. She has a degree in journalism from Syracuse University and her last name is pronounced Cluff.