Bucking the general trend toward store closings in Christian retail, Berean Christian Stores announced today it is primed for expansion in 2013.

In a statement, Berean COO Bill Nielsen, said, “We had a very successful 4th quarter in 2012 and are off to a very encouraging start in the new year. Starting as early as summer of 2013 we will be looking to aggressively increase our store count. While we are developing our new store model that will result in new stores over the next 18 months, we are also very open to possible acquisitions.” Nielsen said their goal was to double store count over the next 18 months, both through opening new locations and acquiring existing stores.

Cincinnati-based Berean now operates 18 stores in the Midwest, California, and Arizona. The chain is privately held.