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Family Christian Stores Decides Against Bankruptcy Bid; CEO Believes Move Will Help 'Serve Customers and Glorify God'

Family Christian Stores Decides Against Bankruptcy Bid; CEO Believes Move Will Help 'Serve Customers and Glorify God'

Rick Manning of Atlanta, Georgia, looks over a book and other items made about the movie "The Passion of the Christ" at the Family Christian Bookstore in Buford, Georgia, February 25, 2004. The movie officially opened to the public on Wednesday. | (Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappel)

Family Christian Stores, the largest Christian bookstore in the United States, has withdrawn its bankruptcy plan and will keep its stores open in order to save the jobs of its 4,000 employees.

"The stewards of the ministry have done this out of love for the mission of Family Christian," Chuck Bengochea, president and CEO of FCS, said in a press release. "We believe that this will help to satisfy certain objections of the Creditors Committee and the U.S. Trustees. This action will lead more quickly to a successful outcome in which we can continue to serve our customers and glorify God. Day-to-day operations at Family Christian Stores will continue as usual."

Over a dozen Christian publishers sued FCS over $20 million of consignment inventory, while the U.S. Trustee and Creditors Committee objected to how the proposed sale plan would allegedly benefit one of FCS' owners. Additionally, Family Christian Acquisitions, a new subsidiary of FCS' nonprofit parent ministry, Family Christian Ministries, decided against purchasing FCS' assets.

Last week, FCS owner Rick Jackson revealed that the chain plans to keep stores open in order to save the jobs of over 4,000 people.

"The previous owners had so much debt that when the stores went down, they had enough to take care of themselves, but they couldn't pay for the debt," Jackson told The Christian Post last month while on the set of Giving Films' first project, "90 Minutes in Heaven."

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"So we took it on; we were too positive thinking, and tectonic trends — people going online not going to brick and mortar stores — brought sales down 10 to 20 percent, just like Borders," he added.

Jackson reorganized FCS into a nonprofit after acquiring the chain in 2012, with proceeds going to Family Christian Miniseries. Giving Films is also a sister company to FCS.

It was an unstable market compounded by the $97 million owed to the banks that forced FCS to file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February.

Jackson highlighted that the chain will lose millions of dollars because "all we did was loan money to the parent and its out."

He continued: "It's gone, and we don't get interest. So we can either quit, [file a] chapter seven, which means all stores go out of business immediately, or [do] a reorganization called a 363 sell, which is where Family Christian Ministries forms a new entity to buy assets and it cleans out any other debts and so forth, positioning it to be successful going forth."

FCS, which is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has over 266 stores across 36 states nationwide. It explains that it offers a "wide variety of faith-based resources, including Bibles, books, children's products, gifts, music and more, with the aim of helping any person find, grow, share and celebrate their faith in Jesus Christ."

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