LifeWay Christian Stores have long provided Baptist Sunday school classes with materials, but those sales have continuously slumped over the years. Now the store is being forced to close its doors.
An NPR report noted that the store has been losing sales since 2013, and while they've taken measures to increase foot traffic, sales still fell.
"That's kind of when we knew that we were going to have to make a change," said chief executive Brad Waggoner.
The history of the bookseller dates back to Reconstruction when it began working with Baptist churches after the Civil War.
Their biggest barrier came from the decision to only sell items guided by the "Southern Baptist standards."
"We ask people to trust that we're going to provide things that are in line with the Bible," Waggoner said.
Christian author Rachel Held Evans wondered if that was part of their problem. While she was raised in an evangelical home, she identifies today as Episcopalian and writes about her journey through faith and struggles with religion, particularly when it comes to women and LGBT people.
Their opposition to other religions has affected authors like her, she explained.
"It was my agents and my editors telling me that, 'If you want to be carried in LifeWay, you'll need to make these changes,'" Evans told NPR. "Of course, I ultimately said, 'Well, I don't want to be carried in LifeWay then.'"
She said that she hopes LifeWay's closure will help broaden the Christian publishing world.