Monday, April 27, 2020

A Plea for Help

Christian Publishers Outlet
I received an email from a perfect stranger this weekend. It's a plea for help for our very own local bookstore, Christian Publishers Outlet. And in an odd way, it was really no surprise because building community, connecting perfect strangers, is just what the folks at CPO do.

I'll get right to the point: this quarantine has been quite difficult on the store, after having to unexpectedly close their doors (due to our governor's orders) and keep them closed for weeks. They had just taken the huge leap to open a second location in Jackson, Tennessee, in the fall of last year. And in previous shop-talk with my friend Dave Tanner, the owner of the store, I learned that in order to keep prices low in the store, the margins from each sale are small--small, but just enough to keep his two locations afloat. However, closing the doors means even those sales aren't happening. Sure, they sell a few items online, but the bulk of their sales happens in the stores. 

The reason for this is that Dave's not interested in becoming the next Amazon. The billions would probably be nice, but if you live in this area, you've likely seen a flier for yet another community event taking place at Christian Publishers Outlet. He's having Kids' Days, Bible art classes, author signings--true community-building events that expect nothing in return. 

Well, folks, it's our turn. 

This store needs our support, and there are several things we can do:

1. Buy something now.* There are six excellent titles featured on their website. I just ordered Bob Goff's Live in Grace, Walk in Love and Intentional Faith by (my pastor!) Allen Jackson. It took 2 minutes and $30 (with shipping). They also have curbside pickup, if you want to save the $5 shipping fee. You can call (615-203-3052) or email them ( with orders as well.

2. Buy something later.* They will be re-opening on Wednesday, April 29, at 9 a.m. and will remain open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. If you haven't been, they're in the Target shopping center at 2033 Old Fort Pkwy, Murfreesboro, TN 37129 and in Jackson at 8 Stonebridge Blvd Suite A-C. Go show your support in person and with your dollars.

3. Share this post. If you're watching your pennies, as many of us are, you can still help to spread the word. It costs nothing and can be a great help.

4. Like and share their Facebook page (Murfreesboro). (Click here for Jackson.) This will keep you in the know about any sales on their already super-low prices and their upcoming community events. And sharing it will let your friends in on the savings and fun.

5. Sign up for their mailing list. Scroll to the bottom of the home page on their website, enter your email, and they'll send coupons and updates straight to your inbox.

6. Keep Christian Publishers Outlet in mind in the future. As you're shopping for gifts for graduation, Mother's Day, Father's Day, T-shirts, home decor, music, toys, and books, please remember that Dave's store is right around the corner--and really, truly has unbelievable prices! Dave and his wife live here and shop here. Their son goes to school with mine. They are our family, our community, and it takes little effort to support them first.

7. Say a prayer. Really. God is our provider and "owns the cattle on a thousand hills." He can provide for this store in remarkable ways. But remember, that provision may just come in the form of me and you.

8. All of the above. :) Easy peasy. You've helped to keep a bookstore alive and instilled hope in the world around you.

Thank you so much for whatever you can do to keep this treasure of a store open, afloat, and even thriving. And either way, don't you worry about Dave Tanner and the people at CPO. I'm told by my new email friend, "Dave is as joyful as ever, faith unwavering, and undeterred in his commitment to remain open, even as the crisis has certainly been more widespread and far reaching than any of us had imagined."

And that, my friends, is an example we can all get behind. 

*If you buy any of my books--they carry a bunch of them!--I will come to the store and sign them for you!