Christian Retailing

CBA chairman downsizes to smaller stores Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 15 June 2009 02:19 PM America/New_York

CBA chairman Jim Whitaker is downsizing his business in a move that he says could be the way ahead for other independent retailers, too.

Shutting his long-time 6,000-square-foot New Life Christian Stores location in Lynchburg, Va., next month, after steadily losing sales to increased local big-box competition--including a LifeWay Christian Store that opened nearby--Whitaker is moving to two, smaller stores further out of the city a few miles away.

"We're just kind of surrounded," he said of his location of 20 years. "We feel like we need to move closer to the customers and pick up business before they drive to this area." The two new locations, which will open in July, are about five miles apart and will be managed by Whitaker's two sons, Todd and Stuart.

Although there would be some additional costs for computerization and extra part-time staff, Whitaker said, his lease costs would be halved by the move. He told Christian Retailing that "this could be the direction that Christian retail will be going-from larger stores, downsizing to smaller stores."

Customers who had been saddened to hear that Whitaker was closing his store were pleased when they learned of the new openings, he said. There were "mixed emotions" on leaving, he added. "It took us a little while when we realized what the Lord was leading us to do, to get over the fact that we wouldn't be here anymore."