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​LifeWay unveils new store concept design

​LifeWay unveils new store concept design

Oct 17, 2018

Aaron Wilson
LifeWay

FRANKLIN, Tenn. – Guests who drive by the recently remodeled LifeWay Christian Store in Franklin, Tenn., will be greeted with a new message adorning the side of the building: “Fearfully and wonderfully made.”

While the phrase from Psalm 139:14 refers to God’s glory reflected in the human body, it’s also fitting given the care and intentionality LifeWay has brought to the fresh concept design meant to redefine the in-store experience.

“Our objective in the redesign was to create a space that’s more than just a place to buy a book or a gift,” said Shawnna Simpson, director of store experience. “We wanted to create a place where people can explore, discover, and connect – a place focused on helping customers navigate their faith journey.”

One of the more notable features of the redesign is The Journey Wall, a display that spans the length of one side of the store and features resources for major moments in a Christian’s life.

Roger and Carla Kurinsky of Chicago, Ill., were some of the first guests to make use of The Journey Wall. Visiting a friend in Nashville, the Kurinskys stopped by the store to purchase a gift in honor of their friend’s new home. They were drawn to the “New Beginnings” section of The Journey Wall and found a plaque with Scripture on it to fit the occasion.

“We got into town last night and happened to see the store driving through the rain and thought we needed to come back when it was open,” Roger said. “It’s a beautiful store.”

The remodeled LifeWay also features a designated workshop and Bible study area for guests to build connections through groups. The area has already hosted several in-store events including women’s Bible studies and workshops on how to use Bible commentaries and concordances, as well as how to minister to one’s neighbors. This section of the store comes equipped with a 65-inch TV, DVD player, adjustable seating arrangement and a pullback partition for privacy. Churches and other groups can also reserve the space for studies and meetings.

Many guests who use the store’s Bible study space also treat themselves to a beverage and snack from The Well, an in-store coffee shop and café that uses its profits to create sustainable solutions to global poverty.

“My favorite part of the new design is the opportunities it’s giving us to have conversations with people who have never been in a Christian store before,” said store manager David Forister. “They come in because of the coffee shop, and we get to interact with them for the first time. Hopefully, they see in us the love of Jesus.”

Long-time LifeWay customer Dawn Logan, a member of Bending Chestnut Baptist Church in Franklin, Tenn., said The Well is her favorite part of the new store design. Logan visits LifeWay three or four times a month with her sister, Kayla. Because she has such a deep relationship with the store and its employees, Logan said the new design makes a marked difference on her experience.

“I feel like it’s more open now,” she said. “We like to come here for everything from Sunday School materials to pastor appreciation gifts. And we bring the kids here while we look around.”

New for children is The Backyard, a screen-free interactive area easily recognized by the large tree that provides a playful canopy over the brightly-colored kid’s hangout.

“The kid’s area has been a big hit for families with young children,” Forister said. “It’s very interactive, with no TV. The children immediately engage and have fun.”

The store also features new Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion store-within-a-store displays that are popping up in select LifeWay stores. These mini stores mark the first time both Proverbs 31 Ministries and Passion have had physical storefronts in retail establishments, and the Franklin LifeWay Store is the chain’s only location to feature both mini-stores, making it an exclusive LifeWay experience.

Simpson said LifeWay is gathering customer feedback on the new concept design to determine which elements may be expanded to other stores.

The Franklin LifeWay Christian Store will celebrate its grand opening during the month of October with the following events:

Wednesday, October 17
Before-hours pastors’ breakfast with The Well coffee, pastries and Chick-fil-A (8 a.m.) 
Saturday, October 20
Family Day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – Offering face painting, story time, The Well popsicles, coloring activities and $10 gift cards to the first 25 guests

Monday, October 22
Free coffee from The Well (9-10 a.m. only)

Tuesday, October 23
Lisa Harper in-store book signing (6 p.m.)

Wednesday, October 24
Before-hours pastors’ breakfast with The Well coffee, pastries and Chick-fil-A (8 a.m.)

Thursday, October 25
Mandisa in-store signing (6 p.m.)

Saturday, October 27
Family Day (10 a.m. – 2 p.m.) – Offering face painting, story time, The Well popsicles, coloring activities and $10 gift cards to the first 25 guests

LifeWay will also give free “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” totes to the first 25 guests to arrive at the Franklin LifeWay Store each day from Oct. 15-27.

Located at 1725 Galleria Boulevard near J. Alexander’s, the store is open 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday. LifeWay Christian Stores are closed on Sundays to give store associates time for worship, family and rest.

In operation for more than 90 years, LifeWay Christian Stores is the nation’s largest Christian bookstore chain with more than 170 stores throughout the U.S. The stores are owned and operated by the Nashville-based LifeWay Christian Resources.

Aaron Wilson is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources. Joy Allmond contributed to this article.

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