LifeWay Christian Stores will acquire the Berean Christian Stores chain.The purchase, announced late Thursday, will give LifeWay 17 additional stores, primarily in California, Arizona, and the Midwest. LifeWay currently owns 163 stores in 26 states, and will increase its reach to 28 states after finalizing the acquisition.

Tim Vineyard, president of the LifeWay Christian Stores division, said the acquisition should close next month, and LifeWay will begin immediately transitioning the Berean stores. He said in a statement that the two chains were compatible but there would also be changes. “Berean’s mission and product mix are generally very compatible with LifeWay’s,” Vineyard said, “although, of course, we will be making some changes in keeping with our current standards.”

The acquisition extends LifeWay's expansion roll. It earlier announced a new location in West Virginia that will open this fall, and also recently acquired three independently owned stores.

LifeWay Christian Stores is owned by LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tenn., an arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. The stores serve Southern Baptists and the wider Christian evangelical world. Berean Christian Stores, started in 1934, was purchased by a family in a bankruptcy auction for just under $2 million following a Chapter 11 filing in 2009.