|Eastern Pennsylvania’s J.O.Y. Bookstore to close soon|
|Thursday, 31 October 2013 09:20 AM EDT|
Longtime Christian retailer J.O.Y. Bookstore in Sinking Springs, Pa., is closing. The store is a Munce Group member.
Margaret Umble, owner of the store for 26 years, plans to retire and is currently holding a retirement sale. Her daughters, Manager Loreen Umble and Secretary Michelle Umble, want to pursue other interests, the Reading Eagle reported.
Umble hired retail marketing firm G.A. Wright of Denver to assist with the marketing and sale of the store’s remaining inventory. Small business consultant James Deaver is employing a marketing plan developed by Wright to help move the inventory.
"She has for a Christian bookstore a very well-stocked inventory," Deaver told the Reading Eagle. "I've been here almost two weeks, and the store appears to have an excellent reputation."
"All of the customers are genuinely sorry, especially since she is the only one left in Reading area,” added Deaver after talking with customers about the closing.
J.O.Y.—which stands for Jesus first, Others second and You last—is seeing a great deal of traffic, according to its Oct. 24 Facebook post: “We opened at 9 a.m. sharp this morning with both front and back parking lots jammed full, the cars lined up on both sides of the road in both directions, and I learned from a customer tonight that the Redner's parking lot next to us had MANY cars in it too. Lines were the order of the day - LONG lines, both to get in the store and then to check out. What a wonderful, glorious day of seeing many of our long faithful customer/friends. You are ALL such a blessing to us! You were sad, disappointed, frustrated and probably many more emotions. Needless to say sales were great! Thank you!"
Umble also owns the store’s building, which used to be a furniture store, and buildings around the property. She plans to sell them all.
The store has been at 4906 Penn Avenue in South Heidelberg Township since 1996, after it moved from the original location. Before Umble started her own business, she worked at the Christian Light Bookstore in Lebanon, Pa. Hearing the comments of customers who wanted a larger store in the Reading area prompted her to start J.O.Y.
Deaver told the paper that they are creating a “bandwagon psychology” to draw customers to the store. "We mail out weekly letters and some will get a special letter handwritten by me with a fancy stamp. Handwritten letters have a better chance of being opened.
"Each week we tell the customers what price breaks or what we'll have the next week."
As of Oct. 30, the store gave a 25% discount off regular prices on nearly the entire inventory. Church supplies were still 10% off, however. The store is also accepting offers on fixtures.
The store is expected to close by the end of the year or before.