Gordmans, Family Christian going out of business

The Family Christian Store in Hobart is going out of business and liquidating all of its merchandise.

More retail store chains are collapsing, leaving behind vacant storefronts across Northwest Indiana.

Gordmans announced Monday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and is looking to liquidate all locations, including Schererville. A buyer swooped in to save the Gordmans in Valparaiso from closing. Family Christian, which billed itself as “the world’s largest retailer of Christian-themed merchandise” is closing all 240 stores, including in Hobart, South Holland, Matteson and Orland Park.

Family Christian had been in business for 85 years selling Christian books, music and apparel, and employed more than 3,000 people nationally. The chain, which had 14 stores in Indiana, is liquidating all of its inventory and has marked everything at least 40 percent off. Going out of business signs hang in the windows of its store across from the Southlake Mall in Hobart.

Retailers across the country have suffered after a dismal holiday season and a continued migration to online shopping. Retail chains that are closing all or some of their stores in the Region so far in 2017 include MC Sports, The Limited, Wet Seal, Kmart, Sears Appliance and Hardware Store, Carson's Clearance Center and Gander Mountain.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Gordmans operates discount department stores in the Porter's Vale Shopping Center at Ind. 49 and Lincoln Highway, in Valparaiso, and at Shops on Main shopping center at Indianapolis Boulevard and Main Street, in Schererville. Just three years ago, Gordmans opened the 50,079-square-foot store in Shops on Main, which is the largest store in the new lifestyle center that's also home to a Whole Foods and a soon-to-open Nordstrom Rack.

The chain sells a hodgepodge of apparel, home decor and accessories. It employed more than 5,100 people nationally at more than 100 stores.

"Until further notice, all Gordmans stores are operating as usual without interruption," Gordmans President and Chief Executive Officer Andy Hall, said in a statement. "The management team and all of our associates remain committed to continuing to provide great merchandise and service to our guests during this process."

The retailer has an agreement with Tiger Capital Group LLC and Great American Group LLC to liquidate all its inventory in all its stores and distribution centers unless a more favorable deal comes forward, according to a company statement.

*Updated to say the Gordmans in Valparaiso will remain open.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.