Holoviak’s is Going Out of Business

As someone who once upon a time was interested in becoming Orthodox, after visiting an Orthodox Church for the first time, I made myself familiar with the Church’s bookstore. Back in the old days, at least at this OCA parish, it was impossible to spend much time there without seeing the name “Holoviak” over and over and over.

Holoviak’s Church Supply, Inc. is a church supply store that was once a big name in supplying Orthodox churches. Liturgical supplies? Check! Icons? Check! Books? Check! Especially for the Orthodox, whose numbers are so small in the US, having someplace that carried the things specific to Orthodoxy was almost unheard of, and so the few places that did had much more of a monopoly on the market.

Even when I worked at one of the large bookstore chains, which was around the time I was getting interested in Orthodoxy, there were some books that were available through the major channels, but a lot of specifically Orthodox books really were only available through the church bookstores, because places like Holoviak worked with the publisher, and churches bought from Holoviak. To find some of these books on one’s own would mean calling or writing some tiny press somewhere…

Amazon changed a lot of that. People looked, more and more, for books online. Amazon has the size to be able to hold small quantities of “niche” books in their warehouses, ready for quick shipment nonetheless, so it was important that even the smallest publisher issue their books proper ISBNs.

But more than that, as so many businesses are online now, a lot of the “middle men” are not as needed. Why order from Holoviak when you can just as easily order from the place that originally made the items? Sure, it’s not always easier, but a lot of times it is.

I really don’t know what the story is – I also know that it seems like there are a lot fewer of these church supply stores – or even Christian bookstores – around. Many family owned businesses are run by older members of the family who want to retire and have no one to hand the business off to. Back in the day, someone who had eight kids probably had at least one who would be interested in continuing on; these days, with small families, it seems like it’s less and less the case.

That being said, there are more and more places springing up that create and carry Orthodox wares in the US. It’s neat to see. However, a lot of these are small places, and even just have their niche within the Orthodox community. This is actually part of the reason that I created an Orthodox Shopping page on this blog, to serve as a resource for people hoping to find things, and connect Orthodox people who have something to sell with people who might be looking to buy.

I would love help in this project – please leave a comment if you have any suggestions for places I should include!

In the meantime, there is a sadness to seeing Holoviak go; according to the website, there’s still a number of things that are for sale.


dore canto 31 white rose

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