Monthly Archives: October 2012

Difficult Decision Series: The ABC: Is It to Be Or Not to Be?-Final

In our final installment on this particular topic, we try to answer the question that we raised at the end of the previous article: Can the Adventist Book Center survive in the new environment that it finds itself?

Those of you who are older remember what was called apartheid, the system of government that existed in South Africa and what was then called Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Apartheid was legal segregation; it allowed white South Africans and Rhodesians to control those countries and subjugate the black majority, even though whites were a tiny minority.

Though that system lasted for a long time, it met an inevitable end. As it was coming to an end, there was a white government leader by the name of Ian Smith. He said to the minority population, “Adapt or die.”

That is pretty much where most ABC’s are, at least, in my opinion: They can adapt to an environment that is very different than “the old days” when they had the health food and Adventist book market virtually entirely to themselves, or, they will die.

We talked about the ways that the environment has changed for the ABC in our last article, how:

(1)           In this conference, the buying shifted from books as the biggest seller, towards food.

(2)           The Adventist book market took another severe hit when the Ellen White books were placed on-line. That was a wonderful convenience for Adventists, but as the Book of Revelation might put it, it seems like a “deadly wound” for Adventist Book Centers.

(3)           Adventist Book Centers have ceased to be the primary suppliers of health food for Adventist. You can now purchase a lot of those products at the major grocery store chains that serve the cities of our conference-especially, the frozen food products.

I remember the days when our ABC would ship frozen food products to customers […]

By |October 14th, 2012|Categories: President's Blog||0 Comments

Difficult Decisions Series: The Adventist Book Center (ABC): Is It to Be Or Not to Be?–Part III

Well, it has been a little over a month since we posted Part II of this series. That is too long, for which, I apologize. The truth is, we have had to spend a lot of time (including yesterday and this morning) addressing another difficult decision.

Last time, we spoke about the ABC having very limited overhead (I said that it had virtually no overhead, but the ABC Manager informed me that the ABC has just begun paying the salary of the other worker in the ABC. For some time now, the conference had been paying that salary, as the ABC was paying off a loan to the Southern Union. The paying back of that loan does represent some overhead, so I need to correct myself), and it has not been able to operate at a break-even level. In fact, currently, the ABC is in kind of a vicious cycle where, it does not make enough money to buy very much inventory. Without sufficient inventory, the ABC cannot sell enough to make money. Without money, the ABC cannot buy very much inventory, and so on, a vicious repetitive cycle.

Please allow me to say that this is a situation that, first of all, the current ABC Manager, Theron Thomas, inherited. We told him that the ABC was on “life support” at the time that we hired him. You will not find a nicer person. He has a wonderful spirit as we have had to severely limit the things that he would like to do, in order to keep the red ink that engulfs the ABC from negatively impacting the bottom line of the conference.

I remember chairing the ABC oversight committee seven years ago. [Every month, the various business entities […]

By |October 5th, 2012|Categories: President's Blog||0 Comments