ALEXANDRIA — The Gaither Family Resources Center and Restaurant is set to close March 1 as Bill and Gloria Gaither look to spend more time with family and finish work.
“We have come to the point of asking: How do we want to spend the last decade of our lives?” Gloria Gaither said. “We just had to make some choices, and this is one of the choices.”
The prolific gospel singer and songwriter couple, who first opened the store as a landing point for fans traveling to their Alexandria studio, said it’s time to focus their energies on returning to what feeds them creatively.
For Bill Gaither, that means continuing to sing with the Gaither Vocal Band, with which he just finished recording a 30-track album, and for Gloria Gaither it’s time to settle down and write — both music and novels.
“I am a writer; I have always been a writer," Gloria Gaither said. "I want to write what I want to write in this last juncture of my life, so I am trying to pare that down, and Bill is, too.”
That means choosing where most to spend their limited time and energies, she added.
“For this last decade — hoping God will give us at least another decade — I just want the solitude I need for writing,” Gloria Gaither said.
The store is set to close March 1, with both the shop and restaurant continuing to operate as normal up to the last day. Everything in the store is 50 percent off as well, while supplies last.
Gaither Studios will continue to record music and videos for gospel acts across the country past March 1.
The Gaither Family Resources Center and Pure and Simple Restaurant currently has four full-time employees and 36 part-time employees, said Gina Brisco, president of the Gaither Management Group.
Brisco said fans of the Gaithers’ gospel music can still visit online through gaither.com and the family’s Facebook page.
“The reality is now many more people visit online than in person,” she added.
The Family Resources Center attracts thousands of visitors each year from across the globe to the small Central Indiana town.
“I am sad to see them go, and I wish the very best for them and their employees,” said Mayor Ron Richardson. “Obviously we have appreciated their commitment to Alexandria.”
Gaither Studios first opened 20 years ago as a way for the Gaithers to avoid spending too much time away from their children during the week. As the studio and family’s influence grew, fans would come to the studio for tours and to meet the couple.
“We wanted it to be beautiful, a place of peace and solitude," Gloria Gaither said. "Even if you don’t buy anything I want you to come in here and feel like you can inhale something good and exhale whatever has been troubling you. It is sad to me, because it has become what we dreamed it to be.”
From there it grew with several expansions to include a full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant and a shop with videos, books, design and home goods.
“When Bill said we need a place for people to come, I said let’s do more than that, let’s do this all-inclusive place,” Gloria Gaither said.
After the closing, Gloria Gaither said she hopes to update a small historical area at Gaither Studios for fans to visit. The studio will also continue to offer tours for gospel music fans.
"The studio is still very busy and we have created a little historical piece and people can still call for tours of that,” Gloria Gaither said. “I do really recommend that experience for young people who really want to go into music.”