There have been numerous articles about the Family Christian Stores (FCS) Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is upsetting that the largest chain store company in the U.S. has to reorganize in order to stay in business. They owe $40 million dollars to Christian publishers & vendors. Apparently their total debt is $100 million. This chain was bought by a Christian company that promised to give all of its profit to other ministries. Another strange part of this is that the person who wants to buy the chain is already an owner, through a non-profit company. The sale price is reputed to be $78 Million of which only $28 million is cash.
Besides owing Christian Publishers $40 million in invoices, the petition asks to keep the product brought in on consignment without paying for it. That’s another $20 million owed to Christian Publishers and Vendors.
I read an article about Barbour Publishing in Uhrichsville, OH and it said that Barbour has laid off some of their employees and that Tim Martins, President and CEO, stated that it was partly because of the FCS Bankruptcy. Will this happen at other publishers? I surely hope not, but it could happen when FCS owes one company $7.5 million and another one $2 million. Plus, how many small companies do they owe amounts like maybe $100,000 or $50,000. This could devastate a small business, perhaps put them out of business. What will this do to the industry. I believe CBA publishing will survive, but there will have to be adjustments in several areas. It will affect publishers and authors in an already tough industry.
At the same time Family Christian Stores does not plan to close any stores or lay off any employees. Will this only profit the owners of the FCS? Will I want to buy my Christian product at my local store anymore? I’m a very good customer at my local store, have been for many years. I even received a gift one year for being a top customer. I don’t know if I’ll feel comfortable trading with them. This is hurting the industry that I love.