Family Christian Stores has 240 locations nationwide, all of which are closing within two weeks.
One of the stores is off Dawsonville Highway in Gainesville. It has a large yellow banner with “STORE CLOSING” in big black letters strewn across the top of the entrance.
Employees at the store declined to comment, and attempts to reach corporate by phone were unsuccessful.
For Traci McBride, academic dean at Lanier Christian Academy, the store was a place to grab a quick gift or card and go once every few months.
“The employees working at (Family Christian Stores) interact with the customers, reminiscent of the human interaction that used to exist in all stores at one point. You could always count on someone saying a kind, uplifting word and even offering prayer while there, whether an employee or customer,” McBride said.
The online store, which could be reached at www.familychristian.com, is completely closed and the site suggested finding a store near the user.
“While I understand how difficult it must be for our brick and mortar stores to compete with online outlets, such as Amazon, these stores are much more than places to purchase gifts or supplies,” McBride said.
She had received an email notification about the closing a month ago.
“I am saddened at the stores' closings, not just because of their Christian products and merchandise but moreso due to missing the supportive spirit of the people who shopped and worked there,” McBride said.