LifeWay Store to be 'more than a place to buy a book'

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (BP) -- Guests who come to a newly remodeled LifeWay Christian Store in the Nashville area will be greeted with a new message adorning the side of the building: "Fearfully and wonderfully made."

The newly redesigned LifeWay Christian Store in Franklin, Tenn., aims to provide customers space to "explore, discover and connect." The Journey Wall features resources for key moments in a Christian’s life.
Photo by Randy Hughes
While the phrase from Psalm 139:14 refers to God's glory reflected in the human body, it's also fitting given the intentionality LifeWay has brought to the fresh concept meant to redefine the in-store experience.

"Our objective in the redesign was to create a space that's more than just a place to buy a book or a gift," said Shawnna Simpson, director of store experience. "We wanted to create a place where people can explore, discover and connect -- a place focused on helping customers navigate their faith journey."

Simpson said LifeWay is gathering customer feedback on the new concept and design at its store in Franklin, Tenn., to determine which elements may be expanded to other stores.

One of the notable features of the redesign is The Journey Wall, a display that spans the length of one side of the store and features resources for key moments in a Christian's life.

Roger and Carla Kurinsky of Chicago were among the first guests to make use of The Journey Wall. Visiting a friend in Nashville, the Kurinskys stopped by the store to purchase a gift in honor of their friend's new home. They were drawn to the "New Beginnings" section of The Journey Wall and found a plaque with Scripture on it to fit the occasion.

Sarah Musser of Franklin, Tenn., looks through a kids book with daughter Audrey and son Joshua in The Backyard, the newly redesigned children's section at the LifeWay Christian Store in Franklin, Tenn.
Photo by Joy Allmond
"We got into town last night and happened to see the store driving through the rain and thought we needed to come back when it was open," Roger said. "It's a beautiful store."

The remodeled LifeWay also features a designated workshop and Bible study area for guests to build connections through groups. The area already has hosted several in-store events including women's Bible studies and workshops on how to use Bible commentaries and concordances as well as how to minister to one's neighbors. This section of the store is equipped with a 65-inch TV, DVD player, adjustable seating arrangement and a pullback partition for privacy. Churches and other groups also can reserve the space for studies and meetings.

Guests who use the store's Bible study space can treat themselves to a beverage and snack from The Well, an in-store coffee shop and café that uses its profits to create sustainable solutions to global poverty.

"My favorite part of the new design is the opportunities it's giving us to have conversations with people who have never been in a Christian store before," store manager David Forister said. "They come in because of the coffee shop, and we get to interact with them for the first time. Hopefully, they see in us the love of Jesus."

Longtime LifeWay customer Dawn Logan, a member of Bending Chestnut Baptist Church in Franklin, said The Well is her favorite part of the new design.

"I feel like it's more open now," said Logan, who visits the store three or four times a month with her sister Kayla. "We like to come here for everything from Sunday School materials to pastor appreciation gifts. And we bring the kids here while we look around."

Jenna Fisher rings up a customer at The Well, an in-store coffee shop and café that uses its profits to create sustainable solutions to global poverty.
Photo by Joy Allmond
New for children is The Backyard, a screen-free interactive area easily recognized by the large tree that provides a playful canopy over the brightly-colored kid's hangout.

"The kid's area has been a big hit for families with young children," Forister said. "It's very interactive, with no TV. The children immediately engage and have fun."

The store also features the new Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion store-within-a-store displays that have been added to select LifeWay stores. The mini-stores mark the first time both Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion have had physical storefronts in retail establishments, and the Franklin LifeWay Store is the chain's only location to feature both mini-stores, making it an exclusive LifeWay experience.

The Franklin LifeWay Christian Store will celebrate its grand reopening during the month of October with the following events:

Saturday, Oct. 20 and 27: Family Day (10 a.m.–2 p.m.) offering face painting, story time, popsicles, coloring activities and $10 gift cards to the first 25 guests.

Tuesday, Oct. 23: Lisa Harper in-store book signing (6 p.m.).

Wednesday, Oct. 24: Before-hours pastors' breakfast with The Well coffee, pastries and Chick-fil-A (8 a.m.).

Thursday, Oct. 25: Mandisa in-store signing (6 p.m.).

LifeWay will also give free "Fearfully & Wonderfully Made" totes to the first 25 guests to arrive at the Franklin LifeWay Store each day through Oct. 27. Located at 1725 Galleria Boulevard, the store is open from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. LifeWay Christian Stores are closed on Sundays to give store associates time for worship, family and rest.

In operation for more than 90 years, LifeWay Christian Stores is the nation's largest Christian bookstore chain with more than 170 stores throughout the U.S. The stores are owned and operated by the Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Aaron Wilson writes for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Joy Allmond, also of LifeWay, contributed to this article.
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