After nearly 40 years in business, the Maritime Christian Bookstore in Charlottetown is getting ready to close its doors for good.
Co-owner Bonnie May said on Thursday that the store on Hillsborough Street will close on June 16 after a warehouse sale May 3-5 and a grand finale sale during the first two weeks of June.
“It’s been a difficult decision, but we’ve had the business up for sale now for about two years and haven’t had anyone that was ready to pick up the reins right now so . . . we’re at a crossroads. This is our other option,’’ May said. “We’re getting older ourselves and (are) ready for a change.’’
Different factors led to the decision. The retail market certainly isn’t the same now as it was when the store opened or when May and her husband, Roger, took it over 27 years ago.
“Customer spending habits are changing. People are shopping online, and there’s not the interest in Christian product that there used to be.’’
Making the decision to close even tougher, May, said is that customers and the four staff members are like an extended family.
“We feel like our work here was a ministry as much as a business. We helped people who were hurting or who came in looking for encouragement or someone looking to encourage someone else. It’s been a good opportunity to help people, and we’ve really enjoyed that.’’
Bonnie May - co-owner
Maritime Christian Bookstore was launched by Donald Stewart who wanted to provide Christian literature for people.
“There just wasn’t any resource for it, so he basically had a closet where he kept books and if people wanted them he’d sell them out of his little closet.’’
May said it then grew into a bookstore for the bible college to sell its textbooks and eventually evolved into a full retail outlet.
Thirty-seven years ago, May’s mother and father, Les and Fern Jones, purchased the book store from the college. They not only operated it but expanded it.
“Roger and I bought it from my parents 27 years ago, and we’ve expanded it as well. We’ve expanded the product lines and actually the physical space in the store.’’
May said working with customers and staff is what she’ll miss the most.
As for what lies ahead for May and her husband, she’s not quite sure yet. One thing is for certain, it isn’t retirement.
“We’re not sure, just a change. There’s lots of places we can serve. We’ll just see what the Lord brings our way. I’m open to opportunities right now.’’