|LifeWay to open 17 new stores from Berean acquisition|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Monday, 30 September 2013 04:14 PM EDT|
LifeWay Christian Stores is in the process of opening and converting 17 new stores in seven states over the next two weeks, the result of the chain’s recent acquisition of Berean Christian Stores.
Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, the parent company of LifeWay Christian Stores, said the acquisition is a tremendous opportunity to serve more customers in new communities.
“Berean, like LifeWay, has been known for their commitment to serving church customers,” Rainer said. “This acquisition significantly increases LifeWay’s opportunities for service and ministry across the country.”
The former Berean stores are primarily in California, Arizona and the Midwest. By the end of October, LifeWay will operate 186 stores in 28 states.
Tim Vineyard, vice president of LifeWay’s retail division, said his staff are opening the stores as quickly as possible, but first must convert the stores to LifeWay’s systems and products, conduct comprehensive inventories and train employees.
“It’s a herculean effort by our staff – both in the stores and at our Nashville headquarters,” Vineyard said. “But we are committed to opening as quickly as possible in order to serve our customers with LifeWay Bible studies, music and VBS materials, B&H Publishing’s Bibles, books and church supplies and a variety of inspirational gifts and home décor.”
Three former Berean stores in both Ohio and Pennsylvania and one each in Georgia and Montana have already opened as LifeWay Stores, while seven stores in California and two in Arizona will open the first week of October.
Berean Christian Stores was started in 1934 and purchased by Joseph and Deanna Gimelli in 2009, who said they are pleased to transition their stores to LifeWay stores.
“Frankly, we cannot think of a partner more compatible and more fully committed to meeting the needs of believers and their churches,” Joseph Gimelli said. “This opportunity is truly a blessing for our customers and our employees.”
While technology systems at the new stores are being converted immediately to LifeWay’s systems, Vineyard said transition of internal and external signage, employee uniforms and merchandising plans will take a few weeks.