The Cokesbury Christian Bookstore in Kirkland's Totem Lake area will close its doors sometime early next year after 16 years in business.
Amy Smith, a spokeswoman for the national retailer of Christian products, said the closure is part of a plan by United Methodist Publishing House, the parent company of Cokesbury, to close all 57 stores across the country.
"More of our customers are shopping online and in our call center," said Smith.
Nancy Apple, assistant manager of the Kirkland store, said the exact date of its closure in not certain. The company will begin the closures on Jan. 12, she said, and all will be closed by the end of April.
She said the store, which opened in 1996, currently has two three full-time and two part-time employees.
Smith, the company spokeswoman, said the chain will begin focusing on online sales and services at Cokesbury.com and providing services through its call center. Cokesbury is also adding more than 40 sales representatives to the field and increasing its presence at events.
Overall, 185 full-time employees and just over 100 part-time employees will be affected by the closures across the chain. According to Smith, Cokesbury has existed since 1789 and has had some form of a store in place since that time.
"Closing our local stores has been a difficult and disappointing decision. Cokesbury stores have been an important and cherished part of our ministry over many decades, but the simple fact is that fewer and fewer individuals rely on stores to shop for the products they need," the company stated in an email sent out to Cokesbury customers.
Customers can visit CokesburyNext.com for more details on the closures and future Cokesbury plans. They can also visit Cokesbury.com to shop and place orders for products and services or call the Cokesbury Call Center at 1-800-672-1789.