Murray Zetterholm closed Crossroads, his Christian bookstore in the Oak Valley shopping center, in April, after twenty-two years in that location. But he hasn’t gone out of business–Crossroads is still open online.
Zetterholm says he decided to shutter the store in March, but he’d seen it coming for years. He’d let all his employees go a year ago and even then couldn’t make the numbers work. “It comes down to not being able to pay yourself,” he says. “There’s no basis for running a business.”
In its online incarnation, Crossroads will focus on about 3,000 of the store’s highest-volume items. Bibles, not surprisingly, have always been his biggest seller, and he says he has at least fifteen different versions. While he’ll order and ship many items from suppliers, he’s keeping an inventory of Bibles in his home, because a lot of his customers want them personalized–either for themselves or as a gift to someone else.
Besides the dismal retail climate, Zetterhelm says moving the store to the web makes sense for another reason–most of his orders have always come from out of state. Before he set up his website, people ordered by phone. Even after closing the store, he’s continuing to take phone orders–though now it’s not for the benefit of the out-of-staters. “I think that’s still a very important tie-in, especially locally,” he says. “These are people who have done business with me and want to know there’s still a real person there. The web doesn’t do that.”
Crossroads, 662-6556. www.crossroadsbooks.com