Christian retailers are reporting good sales and positive feedback for CBA’s third annual Christian Store Week (CSW), which started Sept. 28 and runs through today, Oct. 8. Tammy Horvath, CBA member relationship specialist, said she has received numerous calls from participating retailers indicating positive gains for the first weekend of the promotion.
More than 400 Christian stores nationwide—including 134 independent retailers and the Family Christian Stores chain—partnered with World Vision to raise awareness of the need for hunger relief among American children as part of CSW, an effort to spotlight Christian bookstores and drive traffic, CBA said.
Bill Ballou, owner and manager of The Solid Rock in Kearney, Neb., told Christian Retailing that overall sales were up by a small percentage from last year’s CSW.
"This is primarily due to the Saturday [Sept. 29] special sale of ‘Spend More-Save More," which we did not have last year," said Ballou, noting his store sent 7,500 emails with the CSW brochure and alerted 1,000 Facebook contacts. "The Saturday sales were about a 25% increase over last year for same-day sales."
Ballou emphasized a different section of his store for each day of CSW, while offering a drawing for prizes if customers spent $50-plus and brought in canned goods. "The major response was in the goodwill created by having different sales categories for each day—a something-for-everyone idea," he said. "We will keep tweaking it for next year."
Kelly Harding, bookstore manager at Central Christian College of the Bible in Moberly, Mo., said sales "have been up just a little" from last year’s CSW.
"It’s better this year because instead of just offering a sale, we are hosting events," said Harding, noting the store partnered with a local church for a food drive tied to customers’ canned goods donations. "Every year we seem to step up a little more and find new ways to celebrate this event. … We took advantage of the marketing tools that CBA provided, such as the press release and printable flyers."
As with last year’s CSW, Lighthouse Christian Products offered $120 worth of its catalog inventory via a package of 10 items to participating stores for $25 plus shipping and gave a free collage photo frame ($40 value) to retailers who wrote to tell about one of their favorite customers.
CSW also featured an enhanced compilation CD, which was sold exclusively through Christian stores. Lift Up, produced by EMI CMG, featured songs from Big Daddy Weave, Francesca Batistelli, Kutless and other artists who donated royalties, fees and commissions for the CD. Proceeds will benefit World Vision food programs. In the past two years, CSW has raised more than $100,000 for Christian relief programs through benefit CDs.
Ads promoted Christian Store Week on more than 1,200 radio stations, including K-LOVE Radio Network, Air-1, Christian Satellite Net and Bott Radio Network, as well as online at K-LOVE.com and sermoncentral.com. Lift Up CD was offered free to pastors if they mentioned it and CSW to their congregations.
Click here for more information on Christian Store Week. Read the full report in the December issue of Christian Retailing.