Contact: Andrea Stock
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla.—The Munce Group’s Christian Product Expo (CPE) was a full show, in every sense of the word. Attendance was up from last year with over 400 retailers and vendors gathering at the Embassy Suites and Convention Center in Murfreesboro, TN for two-and-a-half days of events designed to encourage, equip and engage.
“While the economy is an ever present challenge, retailers and suppliers attend CPE because they know it is beneficial to their businesses,” said Kirk Blank, Munce Group President.
Retailers who arrived at the hotel early, between 1:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 12, were invited to attend one of the two pre-show training sessions—a social networking and Bible version training seminar, hosted by the Munce Group and Thomas Nelson, or Integra Interactive’s digital and myMEDIA BurnBar™ seminar.
CPE officially kicked off on the right note with the fourth annual Bible Conference featuring worship leaders Keith and Kristyn Getty (New Day) and bestselling Bible teacher, Elizabeth George (Harvest House). Elizabeth’s husband, Jim George (Harvest House), and musical guest Bebo Norman (BEC Recordings/EMI CMG) later joined the lineup for the Night of Worship.
Sunday evening, retailers and vendors were invited to a CPE-exclusive pre-screening of Courageous, the upcoming film from Sherwood Pictures, personally hosted by producer Stephen Kendrick. During this time, Kendrick shared select clips and divulged behind-the-scenes stories from the making of the film.
Monday morning, retailers were encouraged during the devotion time with songs of worship from Lisa Troyer and a moving message from bestselling author Carol Kent (Barbour Publishing). Following the devotion, retailers attended one of two workshop tracks. Track one provided an overview of the Munce Group programs; a ministry-focused Q&A session with Deanna Favre, wife of NFL legend Brett Favre, and pastor Shane Stanford (Abingdon); a session with Schutte Site Advisors on increasing sales; and roundtable discussions on curriculum (Gospel Light), Bible sales, church supplies and exclusive products. Track two offered retailers free, basic and advanced training sessions on Bookstore Manager.
Monday afternoon, the show floor opened, allowing 210 retailers to interact with over 180 vendors, representing 80 exhibiting companies, in a profitable time of order writing.
“We’re pulling the final sales number together, but it looks like we will see about a 20% increase in sales over last year’s event,” said Tom Knight, Senior Vice President of Sales for Thomas Nelson.
Based on survey results, attendees overwhelmingly rated the show as a five out of five for being beneficial to their business. Vice President of Sales for Lighthouse Christian Products, Edward Nizynski reported, “[Our sales reps] just returned from a positive Munce CPE show in Nashville. Total sales were up 25% over last year. After discussing the event with them, I was encouraged by everything I heard.”
Monday evening, nearly 300 attendees heard from some of the biggest names in Christian entertainment—up-and-coming artist Audrey Assad (Sparrow/EMI CMG), talented comedian
Kenn Kington (Crown Video), southern Gospel legend Jason Crabb (Spring Hill/EMI CMG), motivational author and speaker Andy Andrews (Thomas Nelson), Dove Award-winner Matthew West (Sparrow/EMI CMG), keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling author Joel Rosenberg (Tyndale), and Grammy-winner Jars of Clay (Essential/Gray Matters/Provident).
“My life has been enriched tremendously by the music, books and gifts,” said Cherry Mercer of The Promise Land in Paris, TN. “The CPE shows add to that enrichment by introducing the authors, artists and new product, as well as being with fellow retailers and vendors.”
Before hitting the show floor on Tuesday, retailers began their day with a devotional from author Denise Hildreth (Tyndale) and a product presentation from Tyndale. 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 $1500.
“I came to this show burnt out and ready to quit,” said Paula Merkle of The Bridge in Van Wert, OH, “but I am leaving encouraged and reminded of why I am in this industry.”
CPE | Nashville is a members-only tradeshow that encourages, equips and engages independent Christian retailers and suppliers through training, order writing and artists’ and authors’ showcases. CPE is the ONLY tradeshow that is free to attend and provides a generous reimbursement program for a potentially all-expense paid trip.
The Munce Group was founded in October 1991 and currently serves nearly 500 member retailers across the US. 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.