|Missouri Parable store to close after 28 years|
|Written by Jeremy Burns|
|Thursday, 15 May 2014 03:09 PM EDT|
Lemstone Parable Christian Store will close May 31 after nearly three decades of serving the community of Columbia, Missouri. The store opened in the Columbia Mall in 1986 as Lemstone Books before relocating to an area shopping center in 2004.
“We have enjoyed the period of time that we’ve had the store, and we’ve been blessed by the ministry of the store, interacting with our customers and staff,” owner Bob Perry told the Columbia Tribune. “We’ve had a lot of blessings, but it’s just that time.”
Perry and wife Miriam bought the store in 2007 as the economy teetered on the edge of what would become the Great Recession. Changes in the Christian products industry dovetailed with the struggling economy to hurt the store’s sales numbers.
“Sales in Christian retail—not only in our store but in the majority of stores—have continued to decline over the past several years,” Perry said. “Our lease is up this year, and it wouldn’t be prudent for us to continue to operate.
“We’ve really been impressed, and in a way, overwhelmed, with all the responses from those who know we’re closing,” he added. “The common expression is, ‘What are we going to do?’ We empathize with them and do believe it would be a plus for this community to have a Christian retail store, but for one to survive, you’ve got to have day-to-day customers. It’s not just a feeling in one’s heart, but it’s also got to be acted upon.”