After losing $250,000 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, a church supply store in Madison Heights decided on a bold move to a higher-profile location Troy in an attempt to recoup some of its losses.
Fuchs Church Supply, founded in 1919 on Broadway Street in downtown Detroit, has moved from its 12,000-square-foot operation from Stephenson Highway in Madison Heights, where it had been since the 1980s, to a 5,000-square-foot location in the Oakland Square shopping center at 14 Mile Road and John R (and a 2,000-square-foot warehouse nearby) in an effort to increase its retail sales.
So far, so good, says owner Matt Klopp. “Since we made the move at the end of June, our store traffic has increased about 30 percent and retail sales have risen 20 percent to 25 percent.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was particularly hard on the church supply business. Klopp estimates that the store lost close to $250,000 due to COVID-19. Not only was the store closed to retail customers, all churches in the state — many of which get their daily supplies from Fuchs — were shut down for two months.
In addition, the churches were shuttered during the busy spring Easter season, which also is the traditional time for First Communion and Confirmation celebrations. Fuchs sells cards and gifts for those occasions as well as altar wine and bread and candles to Catholic and churches of other denominations.
“We were planning on moving anyway and considered not moving because of COVID-19 but then we decided to go ahead with our plan,” Klopp says. “We thought it would be a better retail location for us.”
Klopp’s father, Tom, acquired Fuchs in 2007. Matt and his brother, Greg, bought dad out in 2016. Greg minds the store at Mateja Church Supply in Garden City. They are just the third family to have owned Fuchs in the company’s 101-year history.