Contact: Andrea Stock
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla.—With a welcome return to the Hershey Lodge, CPE guests enjoyed three days of spiritual encouragement, comprehensive training and engaging interaction with retailers, vendors and authors.
Having 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the theme verse, CPE offered nearly 200 retailers, representing over 100 Christian stores, a fresh look at the new year in independent Christian retail.
Munce Group President Kirk Blank said, “Many of the retailers I spoke with said that this CPE encouraged them to continue in their ministry and challenged them to take a fresh look at what changes needed to be implemented in their business.”
Dennis and Andrea Lovvorn, from New Covenant Christian Bookstore in Shelbyville, TN, remarked, “Talking to other stores and sharing ideas is helpful. The entire atmosphere at a Munce show is a breath of fresh air.”
After a prospective store training and pre-show orientation, CPE officially began with the Bible Conference at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 20. Attendees joined in a corporate time of singing, heard a word from Linda Evans Shepherd, a bestselling author with multiple books on prayer, and were informed of the prayer room on the show floor. Keynote speaker and author of Dirty God (Harper Collins Christian Publishing), Johnnie Moore then shared a two-part message on Habakkuk and grace.
Following a family-style dinner, retailers gathered for the Night of Worship with world-renowned author and producer Bill Myers and Pastor Dwight Mason, upcoming author of the debut book Only God (Barbour). The day ended with a preview of Ring the Bell (Provident) and a private screening of Home Run, a movie highlighting Celebrate Recovery, coming to theaters April 19.
At the Monday morning breakfast, Cynthia Ruchti, the PR liaison for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), shared her testimony about finding glimmers of hope in dark times, which tied into her newest novel When the Morning Glory Blooms (Abingdon).
After breakfast, retailers attended one of four simultaneous workshop tracks.
- Track One | General Session – covered understanding social media with Bonnie Calhoun (CAN), effective merchandising with Miriam Davis (DaySpring), reaching Catholic consumers with Margaret Umble (J.O.Y. Bookstore) and Karen Grosse (Lighthouse Christian Books) and roundtable discussions.
- Track Two | VBS – introduced retailers to the 2013 Vacation Bible School curriculum from Abingdon, Concordia, Gospel Light, Group and Standard.
- Track Three | Technology 101 – taught retailers how to use technology to improve business with services such as Above the Treeline/Edelweiss, Innovative, MY|eebo and retailer.munce.com.
- Track Four | Bookstore Manager – offered retailers free, basic and advanced training sessions on Bookstore Manager.
“I feel like I have been equipped to take my store to a new level,” commented Joel and Cecilia Evans from JC’s Christian Book Store in Middletown, NY.
Before the tradeshow floor opened, retailers enjoyed lunch with husband and wife team Susan Merrill, the author of The Passionate Mom (Harper Collins Christian Publishing), and Mark Merrill, President of Family First and author of All Pro Dad (Harper Collins Christian Publishing).
Monday afternoon, the show floor opened for a profitable time of order writing for both retailers and vendors.
“These two days are as productive as two weeks in-store,” shared Michelle Bails from Lion and Lamb: A New Beginning in Niles, OH.
“As a vendor and distributor, CPE Hershey is an excellent way to meet with your existing and new customers, sharing all of your new products and services in a personal, face-to-face meeting,” states Lee Yeckel, Sales Director of Anchor Distributors. “It is also a great way to meet other suppliers and distributors and gain knowledge into the Christian Bookstore market place. Being new to this industry, I was so pleased at the friendly, caring and sharing attitude of all involved. This show is a true blessing!”
In addition, to writing orders and gaining product knowledge, retailers also met with authors via consecutive book signings at the SuzyQ booth.
The Monday evening showcase featured an impressive lineup with a preview of The Bible miniseries, comedy from “God’s Comic” Brad Stine and a compelling message on forgiveness from Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages and When ‘Sorry’ is Not Enough (Moody).
On Tuesday, retailers began their day by hearing from a panel of authors from the Christian Authors Network (CAN): Bonnie Calhoun, Karen Whiting and Marsha Hubler. The authors also presented three winning retailers with over $3500 in assorted titles from CAN members. At the end, multiple CAN authors stayed for book signings of their latest projects.
CPE concluded at 4:00 p.m. when three attending retailers were selected as the winners of the cash-prize drawing—the grand prize winner took home $1200.
“We love CPE,” said Bill White, Vice President of Sales for NOTW. “This was only our second show but the business we do there is growing with each event. The size and location of the shows provide an intimacy that just isn’t achieved in other tradeshow venues. The real take away for us is that we feel more like we are at a Christian retreat than a tradeshow. So not only do we do good business, the Spirit of God is surely with us as we spend our time together.”
The Munce Group will host CPE Murfreesboro on September 22-24, 2013 at the Embassy Suites in TN.
The Munce Group was founded in October 1991 and currently serves over 500 member retailers. The mission of the Munce Group is to provide member retailers with the highest quality Christian materials and services to equip independent Christian retailers for the work of their ministry and business. Munce Group also owns and operates MTL Media, Inc. that produces www.mtlmagazine.com, an online Christian lifestyle magazine for women. For more information on the Munce Group, visit www.munce.com or call 800-868-4388. CPE is the only industry tradeshow that is free to attend and provides a generous reimbursement program. Visit www.cpeshow.com for updates on the September CPE line-up.