I meant to write this post as a wrap-up of changes in our industry back in January but didn't have the time. Today we received word that another major change has happened so I thought it would be a good time to recap recent mergers, closures and other changes in our industry.
First, we have been hearing from a large number of stores that business is down a lot. That's why we launched the Catholic Store Finder. We have received a lot of comments from people using the service that they didn't realize that there was a store in their area. Unfortunately, increased exposure won't help some of these stores that have closed or are closing soon.
Sophia Institute Press sent out several pleas for financial assistance last year which resulted in a partnership with Thomas More College. Unfortunately, it seems that things are still not back on sound financial footing because Sophia just sent out another plea for money a week ago.
TAN has had a rocky financial time over the past several years and finally went into a second bankruptcy. The result was a buyout by St. Benedict Press which is somehow associated with Goodwill Publishing, a publisher of Christian books, which also provides financial backing for catholiccompany.com.
Following on the acquisition of Servant Books by St. Anthony Messenger (some would say to give an orthodox veneer to the company), Franciscan Press was also acquired by St. Anthony Messenger.
Franciscan University Press closed its doors a couple of years ago.
A failed merger between Gerffert (holy card importer) and William Hirten (Catholic gift importer) and Bonella Italia resulted in a lawsuit in the New York Eastern District Court. Hopefully this will be resolved soon.
Today we found out that one of the larger greeting card suppliers, Barton Cotton, filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy and closed its doors.
Judging from things we have heard from our vendors and other stores there will probably be several more major shakeups in the industry this year.