MISSOULA – Missoula’s Christian bookstore, Garden of Read’n, is closing its doors after more than 14 years in business.
Owner Michael Burks tells us that online sales cut his business in half and it is no longer financially possible to keep the store open.
But that’s not the end of the line for that retail spot as it prepares for a change of ownership and a change of purpose.
The sales are underway at the Garden of Readin’ in Missoula, one of the only Christian bookstores in the region. It’s disappointing for manager Brent Degarmo who has been here for more than ten years.
“I love this store, I’ve given my heart and soul to this place,” Degarmo said. “A lot of people say they feel peace here.”
And as the shelves begin to empty, the business is offering deep discounts to it’s customers.
“We’d like to be able to get rid of as much of our inventory as we can, to help that process. Right now we still have $100,000 worth of inventory to sell.”
But this 3,000-square foot space is about to serve another propose. It has been purchased by the owners of Lacrosse Hockey Wolf in Missoula, who plan on using this space as a training facility for sports like lacrosse, hockey and baseball.
“This is going to be a training facility that helps support the indoor facility that we have over at Hocky Wolf,” says Traver McLeod. “We’ll be looking to use it for PT (physical therapy) work, athletic training, sports psychology.”
The new business model also helps enhance the existing indoor facility at Lacrosse Hockey Wolf.
“The need for indoor training in Montana is kind of a no-brainer,” McLeod said. “With the winter season that we have here, and even like what we have with the spring this year, it needs to be utilized.
It’s a call to serve Montana’s growing and diverse sporting community, especially when it comes to Lacrosse
Tucker Sargent/UM men’s Lacrosse coach
“From people thinking we were walking around holding snowshoes to actually understanding and seeing the numbers grow, all three high schools have club programs,” said UM men’s lacrosse coach Tucker Sargent. “The youth program is very strong and now we have lacrosse across the state.”
As an old business makes room for a new one, the spirit of the Garden of Read’n space lives in on in another way, still bringing people together to share something they love.
And if you loved the Garden of Read’n’s fudge and coffee, that business in moving over to City Life in Missoula.
The last day of business for the Christian bookstore will be near the end of April. The new training center hopes to be open by May or June.
Reporting by Jill Valley for MTN News