Contact: Melanie Strouss

Tel. (805) 543-2644 x596


(July 1, 2010) – As a precursor to the annual International Christian Retail show, The Parable Group hosted two days of store meetings in St. Louis, Missouri. It was a time of building relationships and bringing stores together as one community of Christian retailers. CEO, Steve Potratz, and his team of retail experts created an interactive atmosphere of sharing ideas, asking questions and training with three goals in mind: maintaining a team mentality, embracing technology and creating a better in-store experience for customers.

In addition, The Parable Group presented their annual franchise store awards. In the category of Excellence in Adapting, Sustaining, Adopting and Performing, the large store award was given to Rainbow Parable Christian Store in Colonial Heights, Virginia, and owners Gary and Marcia Hoffman. “They have effectively addressed issues of downsizing space, the shift in staffing cycle, refinement of financial and inventory management practices. All steps taken in an effort to sustain the life-changing impact of their store in the community,” says Parable franchise coach John Strifler.

In the category of Excellence in Adapting, Sustaining, Adopting and Performing, the small store award was given to Lemstone Parable Christian Store in Columbia, Missouri, and owners Bob and Miriam Perry. Strifler says, “All of us are working through the economic challenges. And Bob and Miriam have done it all with class, with Christ-honoring interactions and with a passion to see lives changed.”

And in the final category of Excellence in Sales Growth the award went to Rainbow Shop Parable Christian Store in Fargo, North Dakota. Store owner, Jason Mitzel is a second generation Christian retailer following his parents Jim and Betty Mitzel, former owners. In 2009, Jason Mitzel saw seven percent sales growth in his store. And between January and May 2010, his sales are up an additional five percent. Parable Director of Franchise Operations, Steve Adams, says, “Between Jason’s participation in all the Parable catalogs and flyers, as well as the relocation of his store to a higher-traffic area, he has seen a great return.”

To celebrate these awards, as well as the 25th anniversary of The Parable Group, they held a banquet on Saturday night with EMI musical guests The Museum and Audrey Assad. And closing the night, with a testimony chalk full of great stories and Southern Baptist charm, was Coach Bobby Bowden, the second-winningest coach in the history of major college football.

Steve Potratz says of the meetings, “I was so encouraged by the desire of everyone I encountered to honor God by fulfilling the mission he has given us. My confidence in our success as a team grew considerably during this show. We are so blessed to be working with a great group of storeowners that recognize that as a team, we can cut costs, increase margin and drive traffic through our doors to the Glory of God.”

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The Parable Group, Inc. is a leading retail services provider specializing in franchising and marketing for independent Christian stores. For more information contact Melanie Strouss or visit The Parable Group is based in San Luis Obispo, Calif.