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New in-store merchandising support strengthens growth category partnership

ELIZABETHTON , TN,  April 27th, 2015 – A new program has been launched to help Christian retailers tap more deeply into a niche that can drive customer traffic at a time when multi-channel competition is luring more shoppers elsewhere.

Send the Light Distribution (STL) and Gifts With A Cause (GWAC) have produced special merchandising support to promote fair trade products not widely available online and which also amplify Christian stores’ ministry focus. The initiative builds on a partnership formed between the two last year.

While a growing number of Christian stores have embraced fair trade gifts that support artisans in other parts of the world, effectively displaying the lines well in-store has proved a challenge, explained Darren Henry, President of STL’s Advocate Distribution Solutions division. “They don’t always have a clear merchandising solution to the range of products that is available.”

With that in mind, STL is introducing two different wire display options and a basket display that offer eye-catching presentations of the GWAC handmade catalog, which includes home decor, jewelry, scarves, purses, and other accessories. 

The displays come with header cards that spotlight different parts of the world from which GWAC brings items. The new fair trade merchandising—free to retailers placing a qualifying order—debuts in May with a focus on Indonesia. The signage will be refreshed periodically, featuring artisans from different parts of the world.

Founded in 2007, GWAC imports from craftsmen and women in more than 20 countries. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, the San Diego, California-based company tags each item with information about its maker.

Co-founder Mark Fangue said the company is pleased to partner with STL, which has “taken steps to become a leader in educating and helping stores make the necessary changes to stay relevant and profitable in this evolving market.”

He added: “Stores are needing to find a way to keep and attract more customers for products and services that they cannot purchase online. They also need to provide an interesting, educational, and inspirational experience for their customers. Fair Trade gift products are a proven way to engage Christian store customers in a simple way to make a difference with their purchasing power.

With its support for people in the developing world, fair trade is a perfect fit for Christian stores,   Henry said: “Christian stores are all about ministry, and this category is a tangible expression of that focus customers can appreciate and get behind.”

But the section needs a higher profile. “Without some greater focus, it’s easy to walk past a store’s fair trade collection and miss great products that are beautifully made, reasonably priced, and help make a difference in the world,” Henry said. “We believe our display options are an answer to that need.”

The new merchandising will be demonstrated at ICRS in Orlando, in the summer, when GWAC will be presenting its latest additions as part of the STL exhibition space. 

“The more products that we sell, the more families we can assist to lift out of poverty,” said GWAC co-founder Liz Allen.  Adding more staff overseas has enabled the company to produce more items, requiring better distribution. “Working with an established and forward-thinking distributor was the necessary next step for us,” she said.

Founded in 1974 as Appalachian Bible Company, STL has grown into the largest Christian distributor in the U.S. Up to 1,000 orders are shipped daily from its 200,000-square foot distribution center, which carries an inventory of more than 70,000 items.

For more information, contact:

Darren Henry, President of Advocate Distribution Solutions at Send the Light Distribution, tel 423-767-1100 or email; or Mark Fangue and Liz Allen , co-founders of Gifts With A Cause, tel  858-334-8308 or email 

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Send The Light Distribution is a national distributor of Christian media products.  Advocate Distribution Solutions, a wholly owned division of Send The Light, provides publishers with sales, marketing, fulfillment and distribution services to North America and beyond.