Contact: Andrea Stock
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla.—Neither snow nor rain could prevent Christian Product Expo (CPE) from accomplishing its appointed course in Hershey, PA. As planned, CPE attendees were encouraged, equipped and engaged during a three-day timeframe from January 16-18 at Hershey Lodge, the sweetest place on earth.
With a theme based on Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure,” CPE Hershey 2011 was a time for independents to receive the tools needed to remain strong. 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.”
The show, which was hosted by the Munce Group, offered a hopeful crowd of 232 retailers, representing 133 Christian stores, a full program that included worship, workshops, an exhibit floor for order writing, large group supplier presentations, evening showcases and an extensive Bible Conference plus pre-show training to kick things off on Sunday afternoon.
The Bible Conference was led by counselor and founder of Hope for the Heart, June Hunt (Crossway) and Keith Johnson, motivational speaker, former chaplain for the Minnesota Vikings and author of His Hallowed Name Revealed Again. After a family-style dinner, the Sunday Night of Worship was conducted by one of the most inspirational communicators of our time and multiple Dove Award winner, Nicole C. Mullen (EMI CMG), which was followed by a compelling message from Moody Publishers’ new author, Kevin Wax. Attending the Sunday evening program was CBA’s Executive Director Curtis Riskey. “Because of my abbreviated travel schedule, I was not able to attend the entire event,” Riskey said. “But I really enjoyed hearing Nicole C. Mullen and her heartfelt worship as well as the challenging message from Trevin Wax. It was truly my pleasure to meet and speak to Christian retailers face to face at CPE. Thank you, Munce Group.”
On Sunday evening, attendees also enjoyed a sneak peek of the upcoming film Soul Surfer, the story of Bethany Hamilton, and a private screening of the powerful production from Provident Films, The Grace Card, starring Michael Joiner and Louis Gossett, Jr.
On Monday morning, Charisma House author, Brian Zahnd highlighted the importance of faith and forgiveness, as detailed in his newest book Unconditional? And before the tradeshow floor opened, retailers piled into three different workshops—a general track, covering subjects such as bargain and remainders with Tree of Life owner and Munce Group member Mark Schoepke, multichannel marketing, round table discussions with author Ira Wagler (Tyndale) and Michelle Amster (Integra Interactive); a free Bookstore Manager track and a Vacation Bible School track with curriculum presentations from Abingdon, Concordia, Gospel Light, Group and Standard. With over 140 retailers, the training sessions were standing room only. Zondervan also introduced the new 2010 NIV translation during the break.
The Monday evening showcase featured an inspiring lineup of artist and authors. New York Times bestselling author Cindy Woodsmall and Miriam Flaud, the Old Order Amish co-author of Plain Wisdom (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group), participated in an informative question and answer session. Legendary musician and writer Michael Card (InterVarsity Press) invited guests into a time of worship with an arrangement of songs, including his most famous one, “Immanuel.” And world-renowned Bible teacher, speaker and author Anne Graham Lotz (Zondervan) addressed CPE attendees with a personal message, via satellite, of the hope that is to come. Before the night was over, attendees viewed the much-anticipated release from Sherwood Pictures, Courageous.
Tuesday morning, Dannah Gresh, bestselling author and speaker, and Mindy Starns Clark, well-known mystery writer, informed retailers of their upcoming projects from Harvest House. And by 4:00 p.m., the show floor closed with cash giveaways of $400, $600 and the grand prize of $1200.
One hundred and thirty-nine exhibitors, representing over 60 companies, offered the newest products as well as show specials.
“The show was very good for Barbour,” said Bill Westfall from Barbour Publishing. “Our sales were up 6% compared to last year. The pulse of the stores seems good.” Lighthouse Christian Products representative Russell Reimer said, “We are very grateful for the opportunity to engage in fellowship with our retail partners and love the encouragement we are enabled to both receive and give by meeting up with those who share the vision to spread God’s Word. Writing a few more orders than last year was just icing on the cake.”
“I can’t think of a better time for our industry to get together to worship, learn, serve, teach and be encouraged,” said Munce Group President Kirk Blank. “We have three words that describe CPE—encourage, equip and engage. We know that retailers and vendors need to be encouraged. The authors, speakers and musical guests point us to the hope we have in Jesus Christ. The practical training equips the attending retailers with skills, information and ideas
needed to be effective in their business. The format of the week allows retailers and exhibitors to be engaged in conversation, fellowship and business. It was a joy to see Munce member stores, Parable member stores, Covenant member stores, Church bookstores and non-affiliated independents together in one place. The past few days exceeded my expectations.”
The Munce Group will host CPE | Nashville on September 11-13, 2011 in Murfreesboro, 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.
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