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Tree of Life planning growth

BY Kaitlin Gebby - kgebby@chronicle-tribune.com

Tree of Life bookstore plans to expand its Marion headquarters and create jobs in the process.

The locally owned national bookstore franchise announced they would be investing $310,000 to grow the 55,000-square-foot location at 1500 S. Western Ave. The company plans to improve their current operations and further support growth for their other locations.

According to a Tree of Life press release, the expansion would create up to 34 new positions at the Marion location by 2022.

The project is being supported by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, who is offering $235,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants upon the filling of all additional positions. The company will not be eligible for either the tax credits or the additional training grant before the 34 positions are filled.

Tree of Life reported it has already hired eight candidates for the new jobs and will continue hiring throughout the process.

Darren Campbell, founder of Tree of Life and head pastor at Exit Church in Gas City, attended Indiana Wesleyan University to study business. During his time there, he met his wife who helped him start Tree of Life.

Campbell said he’s proud of how the store has expanded, and attributes its success to his business team and their willingness to try new things.

He said expansion in other areas of the country have already begun. Campbell said they have recently added new stores in Oklahoma and South Carolina, and are always meeting with interested college campuses looking to welcome a Tree of Life location as well. Tree of Life currently has 20 campus locations across the country.

“We’ve been very lucky,” Campbell said. “I’ve played a small part of a big team full of very smart people who have helped us grow. We’re very blessed, and I owe it all to God and how He’s blessed us.”