Contact: Andrea Stock
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH, Fla.—Even in “this difficult economy,” it’s nice to know there really is a place in the independent Christian retail industry where everyone knows your name, a place where a warm smile and an arm around the shoulder are second nature, a place to come home to.
On Sunday, September 11, retailers and vendors alike gathered at the Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, TN for the ninth annual CPE, a two-and-a-half day tradeshow designed to encourage, equip and engage.
“I heard many comments that this was the most ‘sincere’ and beneficial show we have hosted,” said Kirk Blank, Munce Group President.“Vendors and retailers were genuinely interested in working together in this difficult economy . . . and were wholeheartedly engaged in business and ministry while moving forward to serve the Lord.”
With attendance comparable to last year, CPE welcomed over 360 attendees for a time of fellowship within the family of believers.
This year, retailers who arrived early, between 2:00 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Sunday, were invited to attend the pre-show Bible Version Training presented by Tyndale.
At 3:00 p.m., CPE officially began with a Bible Conference featuring pastor and bestselling author Pete Wilson (Thomas Nelson), returning guests and worship leaders Keith and Kristyn Getty (New Day) and gifted Women of Faith communicator and author, Lisa Harper (Thomas Nelson).
During the family style dinner Sunday evening, retailers enjoyed a truly special treat—a question and answer interview with two-time Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominated actress Roma Downey (Provident-Integrity).
After dinner, legendary artist Michael W. Smith (Provident-Integrity) performed music from his new album and a tribute to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11 with his song “There She Stands.” Pastor and author of The Heart of the Story, Randy Frazee (Zondervan) joined the lineup as the speaker for the Night of Worship.
At the end of the day, attendees relaxed with popcorn and soda for the movie night showcasing the premiere of Christmas with a Capital C (Pure Flix).
Monday morning, retailers benefited from husband and wife writing team, Michael and Hayley DiMarco (Baker Publishing Group). Following the devotion, guests could choose from three retailer workshops—free basic and advanced Bookstore Manager training; marketing solutions for the independent store; and business innovation and technology, key strategies for new growth and roundtable discussions.
Prior to the show floor opening, author and Bible teacher Jennie Allen (Thomas Nelson) encouraged retailers with a heartfelt message during lunch. At 1:00 p.m., the show floor opened, allowing retailers and exhibitors to interact in a profitable time of order writing.
“CPE generated a significant amount of orders,” John Allen of EMI CMG said. “We wrote more business in the first five hours than we did during an entire convention this past summer.”
At the Monday evening banquet and showcase, attendees heard from some of the biggest names in Christian entertainment—Dove Award-winner Rachael Lampa (EMI CMG), multi-platinum recipient
Jaci Velasquez (EMI CMG) and keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling author Dave Ramsey (Howard). Plus a welcomed party crasher, the Queen of Clean comedy, Chonda Pierce. And a surprise message from Bill Gaither offered congratulations to Bob Munce and the Munce Group for 20 years of serving the industry.
“We have loved our first experience at CPE,” said Mark and Bridget Griffin of J. Farvers in Shipshewana, IN. “The vendors, other store owners and the Munce Group were all genuinely interested in us and our business. God’s love was evident in everyone we met.”
Before hitting the show floor on Tuesday, retailers began their day with a devotional from international Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie (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.
“Like so many other retailers, we’ve had a tough year financially and have felt emotionally drained as well,” said Deb Woodard of Bethany Book & Gift in Baxter, MN. “The spiritual and emotional encouragement we’ve received at the show has ‘recharged our batteries’ and renewed our hope.”
In January 2012, CPE will have a new date and location. The event will be held January 29-31 at the Lancaster Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Since 2006, the Munce Group has hosted CPE in Hershey; however, this new venue will better suit needs and help keep costs down.Lancaster is also a wonderful area to see independent specialty retail that is thriving.Dr. Charles Stanley will be the keynote speaker for the Monday evening banquet.
“What a tremendous show,” Robbie Halstead of Kingdom Retail Solutions commented. “For those who have never been I really encourage you to consider going in the future. [CPE] has a real family atmosphere to their show!”
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. Visit www.cpeshow.com.
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