ABC ‘much more than a bookstore’

Published December 1, 2006

Dear editor,
Re: Group calls for closure of bookstore (November). I am astonished to hear that a committee has recommended the closure of the Anglican Book Centre (ABC) because of declining sales. Considering it is the one remaining Christian bookstore in downtown Toronto, if it is not making money, it must be very badly managed indeed.

The argument that annoys me the most, quoting Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, is that the United Church has closed its downtown bookstore and “doesn’t regret it.” So? Since when do we just take the United Church’s word for it that something is a good idea? Maybe someone should have asked all the members of the United Church who now mourn its loss. But secondly, any retail manager worth his salt would look on a competitor bowing out of the market as an opportunity, not an indication that they might as well give up and follow suit.

The ABC is much more than a bookstore. It is a gift shop and a music store as well, and a very good one, if you can persevere long enough to actually find it in its new subterranean location. A Web site could never replace this store – you could never put every CD, icon, stole, piece of sheet music and hand-made card on the site. ABC is a quiet place to browse. Going to the ABC is like going on a pilgrimage, and well worth it when you get there.

How about hiring some retailing expertise, and revitalize it instead of closing it? If you want to update it, call it the ABC Christian Store or Journey to Byzantium or Mecca. If you can’t afford the downtown rent, then relocate it somewhere cheaper and give us some parking. But whatever you do, please don’t just wimp out on it.
Susan Strachan-Johnson
Rockwood, Ont.


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