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COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (August 18, 2011) – CBA in cooperation with AmericasMart Atlanta will host Next 2012: Meet the Challenge in the Atlanta gift mart Jan. 12-13. Next 2012 is the industry’s insider event for a maximum 300 Christian-store retailers to successfully meet retailing challenges in the current business climate.

Next 2012 offers training based on actual store experiences, connecting with other retailers and industry leaders, and preparing to navigate the five-building winter gift mart.

CBA has been working with the AmericasMart for the past three years developing cooperative programs to help Christian retailers at one of the largest U.S. gift marts. Next 2012 is the next step to help Christian-store retailers understand the broader gift and specialty industry and better serve customers and increase sales.

Next 2012 is not a trade show with typical exhibits, but the next step to help Christian-store retailers and their suppliers connect and prepare for business and ministrysuccess,” said Curtis Riskey, CBA executive director. Attendance is capped to ensure maximum interaction and engagement between retailers, presenters, and suppliers.

Riskey said when CBA ended its former winter event, CBA Advance, in 2007 it left an industry vacuum that has yet to be filled. Next 2012 is not designed to replace that show but to take industry engagement to the next level after three years of preparation, he said.

“This event will not only help retailers refresh after a busy holiday season, but they also will be better able to differentiate their stores in a crowded marketplace,” Riskey said.

Special sessions will address timely retail needs in marketing, strategic store management, building community around the store, and more.

The program will include training by successful entrepreneur and trainer Bob Negen of Whiz Bang! Training. Keynote addresses will provide visionary insights, and round-robin tables will facilitate quick meetings between retailers and sales reps to view new lines and titles. Sessions will explore latest trends in gift merchandising, publishing and bookselling, new marketing, and more.

Because Next 2012 is actually in one of the AmericasMart buildings, retailers and vendors will have easy access to the largest U.S. gift mart when its temporary booths open Jan. 13.

The program is free to CBA members; however, registration will include a meal fee. Participants must sign up in advance; no on-site registration will be available.

Watch for updates in CBA’s weekly Industry Briefe-newsletter and its Website,