A Christian bookseller and supply store at the Virginia Theological Seminary will close its doors for good early next year.
Cokesbury, which operates a store at 3737 Seminary Road, offers resources for congregations, seminaries, church leaders, study groups and individuals. Cokesbury spokeswoman Amy Smith said all Cokesbury stores will begin closing in January, with the last ones closing by the end of April.
Cokesbury is the retail arm of The United Methodist Publishing House. According to the Cokesbury website, the company has began a new initiative, CokesburyNext, to focus on telephone and online sales. All Cokesbury brick and mortar stores will be closed.
According to the website, “Increasingly, customers prefer the convenience and speed of purchasing on the web or over the phone. The cost of maintaining buildings, inventory and staff in dozens of brick and mortar stores has exponentially increased at the same time that customers show that they prefer other ways to preview and buy resources for their ministries.”
The company will be extending the Cokesbury Call Center hours, adding new local Cokesbury sales representatives across the country who will meet locally with church staff, lay volunteers and pastors at their own churches and increasing the frequency and scale of Cokesbury's presence at special events such as the annual Christian Education Showcase.
The Cokesbury Publishing House was founded in 1789, and in 1794 the first bookshop opened on North Second Street in Philadelphia, Smith said.
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