Christian Retailing

STL Distribution put up for sale Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 11 August 2010 04:28 PM America/New_York

STL Distribution North America (STLD), the second-largest Christian products distributor, has been put up for sale.

The owners are looking for a possible purchaser for the Elizabethton, Tenn.-based wholesaler as part of "an ongoing strategic review of our ministry operations," said Doug Lockhart, CEO North America, of Biblica.

The Biblica board has retained an advisor "to assist us in evaluating future opportunities for STLD," Lockhart added. "With an expanded single-building facility in Tennessee, a West Coast warehouse and a coming print-on-demand solution, we are assessing our core strengths and determining the best path for STLD to grow and flourish in the future.

"As part of this process, we are reviewing all options, including growing STLD within the Biblica ministry or seeking a new ownership partner to take the organization forward."

Lockhart told Christian Retailing that there was no set deadline for the review, "and if a suitable ownership partner is not identified, we will continue to operate the business and work to build on the strong foundation we've established."

STLD was the name given to the former Appalachian Distributors after the business founded in 1973 by Tom Torbett was bought by U.K.-based Send The Light (STL) in 2005. STLD became part of Biblica-based in Colorado Springs, Colo.-in 2007 when STL merged with the International Bible Society (IBS) to form a new global organization, IBS-STL. That new organization changed its name to Biblica in 2009.

Last fall, STLD consolidated its four warehouses, moving to a new facility in Elizabethton. Last week, the business announced a new print-on-demand service due to launch next year. The three-way partnership with printer Dickinson Press and technology firm Snowfall Press, allowing same-day shipping, was described by STLD President Glenn Bailey as a "groundbreaking alliance (that) will change the landscape of Christian book publishing and distribution markets."

The STLD staff was told about the sell-off search last week.