Harlan Convert Out Of Business
PUTNEY – A Harlan County man who turned a lucrative sex shop into a Christian bookstore after a religious conversion is trying to sell the business.
“We don’t have enough customers coming in to keep the business going,” said Mike Braithwaite. “We’ve tried and tried and tried.”
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Even with the merchandise in Mike’s Place marked down, the customers aren’t coming.
That’s why Braithwaite put the store and about 5 acres of land up for sale. He’s asking $55,000 but is hoping a miracle will allow him to keep the business.
Braithwaite said many people who condemned the adult novelty shop haven’t been willing to shop in the Christian bookstore.
The Rev. John Ditty of Harlan Baptist Church said Mike’s Place may be the victim of larger department stores that can sell Bibles and other Christian books at lower prices. At least two other Christian bookstores in Harlan County have gone out of business.
The Rev. James Jay Holland, assistant pastor of Macedonia Baptist Church, said he suspects some church members have been reluctant to shop at Braithwaite’s store because of his past.
Braithwaite said he’s glad he changed, even if he loses the store.
“It might be God’s will to go ahead and sell the store. If it’s not his will, he’ll make a way for us to keep it open,” Braithwaite said.
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