ECPA's Rush To Press

2016 ICRS Set in U.S. Heartland’s Cincinnati

Contact: Brittany Murdock
(719) 272-351

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – The 2016 International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) will be held at the Duke Energy Convention Center, Cincinnati, OH, June 26-29, CBA President Curtis Riskey announced today.

Responding to industry requests, CBA selected the new city venue to create a dynamic event experience for thousands of attendees involved in the creation, production, and distribution of Christian materials, media, and lifestyle products who convene annually at ICRS.

Cincinnati is in the U.S. heartland, surrounded by the densest population of Christian store retailers – plus it’s within 500 miles of 60% of the U.S. population. It’s more affordable, and has a smaller convention footprint, which means more time for networking, relationship building, sales, and entertaining.

Cincinnati has invested more than $2 billion recently in downtown and riverfront development in this pedestrian-friendly city overlooking the Ohio River. And it’s faith friendly, having hosted the National Baptist Convention, USA, which is returning in 2017.

It is also home to the state-of-the-art 70,000-square-foot Creation Museum, where the famous 2014 Nye/Ham debate on creationism occurred, featuring Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis president, and Public Television’s Bill Nye the science guy. 

With roots back to the Revolutionary War, riverboats, and the Underground Railroad, Cincinnati has demonstrated a long tradition of innovation along the banks of the Ohio. Today it’s undergoing another resurgence with new hotels, restaurants, and cultural amenities that will make ICRS a convenient, efficient, fun, and easy-to-reach destination.

Dan Lincoln, president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “Cincinnati is absolutely alive with energy, and there’s no better time than summer to experience the excitement. From vibrant downtown entertainment districts to award-winning restaurants and unique new hotels, ICRS attendees will have so much to see and do within just a few blocks of the convention center.” 

Riskey said moving out of the traditional big-city convention cycle will bring other changes in format and programming. The goal is to maintain ICRS as the premiere gathering place for Christian thought leaders, pastors, new ideas, new voices, and people passionate about Jesus Christ and making Him known.

 “Our vision is to create an environment and experience that brings creative Christian people together from all parts of the Christian-product industry to work in unity to change the world,” Riskey said. 

He said new ways to present products and ideas will be introduced to ensure that people who sell and distribute Christian products can still find the latest designs and products they need to meet customer expectations and ministry goals. They also will find more inspiration and ideas to keep relevant in a rapidly changing culture and economy.

 “It’s a new day for ICRS!” said Sue Smith, CBA board chairperson and general manger of Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI). “Our industry is smaller, more nimble in many ways, with the aptitude to move swiftly in business. Our ability to sustain closer business relationships and networking is an advantage.”

Hosting the 2016 ICRS in Cincinnati will mirror values of nimbleness and speed, she said. “This location will foster these values, promoting collaboration and cooperation, leaving us stronger in our mission to supply vital connections, information, education, and encouragement to Christian product providers,” she said.

Final negotiations to secure the facility extended longer than anticipated because of intense work to make the event as affordable as possible for attendees and exhibitors. CBA also has begun work on a 2017 venue.

 “We are staying nimble so we can adapt to current and future industry needs and create the optimum experience to assemble together for exhortation and in unity of purpose,” Riskey said. 

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CBA, the Association for Christian Retail, is the global trade association for Christian-product providers and distributors. It supplies vital connections, information, education, encouragement, and advocacy to help Christian resource providers reach all people.