The Abbey Christian Store facing changes, may close

NORFOLK – It’s been a good run for The Abbey Christian Store in Norfolk, but now that run may be coming to an end. 

“Any time you lose an employer or a somebody who has a unique item it hurts,” said Brian Vakoc, who first visited the store a few years ago.

“The community has been very supportive,” said Tim Worstell, Manager for The Abbey.

“Unfortunately, it’s just not turning into a sustainable business model where we’re at currently.”

Worstell says The Abbey isn’t the only shop of its kind facing problems. He says more Christian book stores are closing than opening the nation over.

“I can’t say that it’s just one factor,” Worstell said. “I think it’s something that’s been building for quite a while.”

His family began managing the store in 2012. They are looking to sell it, but they said they cannot continue operating beyond July regardless. With the business staring down the summer deadline, it will bring them just short of their ten-year anniversary.

For Worstell, the work at the store was more meaningful than a typical 9-to-5.

“Getting people into God’s word has been something that has been near and dear to my heart for a long time,”

“We’ve made some lifelong friendships from customers here. People that we will continue to be in relationship with long past our stint as managing this place.”

The Abbey was established in 1974, changing locations and hands many times through its long history in Norfolk.

Its latest change might bring an end to the local franchise. But Worstell hopes any potential new building occupants can carry the store’s name up to its 50th anniversary.

“That’s what we’re hoping for is that it would at least continue in some way shape form or fashion, for sure,” he said.