May 11, 2020 — On Tuesday, May 5, the Michigan Conference Executive Committee made the heavy decision to discontinue operating the Adventist Book Centers (ABC) as we know them. The decision impacts all three locations currently managed or run through the Michigan Conference—Lansing, Berrien Springs, and Cicero (Indiana).
The Michigan ABC had expanded its retail coverage in 2014 to include the broader Lake Union Conference (LUC) territory after multiple ABC closures within the Union during that period. Michigan had provided onsite support for various camp meetings across the Union by supplying books, food, and other items for attendees.
Sabbath School quarterlies, various Adventist periodicals, and other resources that Conference departments, churches, and members have depended upon over the years have traditionally been fulfilled through the local ABC. The Conference leadership is currently exploring options to continue supplying printed materials in ways that are efficient and cost-effective.
Plans are also underway to liquidate existing inventory through sales, and some of the items will be returned to the various providers. The ABC faced a financial, uphill battle for many years for reasons beyond its control. The emergence of online retailers like Amazon and shifts in the market culture is broadly seen as contributing to the demise of ABCs across the North American Division. Many vegetarian options and other food items traditionally purchased at the ABC are also available at local grocery markets. In a recent video message, Michigan Conference president, Elder Jim Micheff, stated, "For many years [the ABC] has been a landmark in this conference while many ABC stores across this division have closed. Unfortunately, our ABC has not been immune to the changes in the way people shop, and it has been accumulating debt that has reached an unsustainable level."
Over the years, the ABC accrued the bulk of its revenue from sales generated at Michigan’s annual camp meeting, in addition to other camp meetings throughout the LUC. Taking into account the uncertainty of the look and feel of future camp meetings, coupled with this year’s camp meeting cancellations, and the downward financial trends, to list a few, the difficult decision was made to close ABC operations.
Items from the ABC are available online and can be purchased at www.adventistbookcenter.com. Once the plans are finalized for another fulfillment source, the information will be relayed to the members of the Michigan Conference.