by Tim Troglen
Maple Heights -- For more than 10 years, the Rainbow Family Book Center at Southgate USA welcomed residents who wanted to peruse the aisles of Christian-oriented family books, or stop in for a warm cup of coffee and a snack of muffins.
But that stopped Oct. 27.
The book store, 5398 Northfield Road, shut off the coffee pot and closed its doors for good.
"We had struggled to stay open for sometime," said Alice Wilson, who co-owned the store with her husband, David. "We kept trying to hold out and hang on as long as we could. We hated to disappoint our customers and a good staff who did a good job."
Wilson said several factors led to the store's closing including a decline in business and an upswing in Internet sales.
Southgate USA Manager Denise Armstrong agreed with Wilson's assertion of the local business climate.
"The main reason was that sales were not what they used to be with discount stores opening and selling Christian books," Armstrong said.
Armstrong added that the store was always well maintained and "one of the nicest stores we had at Southgate USA."
Wilson also said that her husband, who she calls "the visionary for the store," suffered a stroke three years ago which kept the couple from being able to come into the store on a daily basis.
Wilson said while the 20 employees and untold numbers of customers were like a family, having to close the store was "sickening for us."
"And the store was our little haven," she said. "We just enjoyed being here. It was our way of reaching the Christian community."
Wilson said she kept an open mind on trying to keep the store open "if the Lord wanted to change things around."
However, she said, "The Bible says everything is for a reason."
Wilson said she and her husband often felt that by selling one book or passing out one track, they would be able to touch people in a special way.
"When we get to heaven, we will know," she said.
Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3165
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