Christian Retailing

‘Expect’ to transform lives at ICRS in Orlando PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Akers   
Tuesday, 03 March 2015 09:00 AM EST

Conv-Ctr4The International Christian Retailing show returns to Orlando, Florida, this summer, and Christian retailers should “Expect” to hear new ideas and concepts on how to fulfill their ministry calling through distributing Christian thought, ideas and resources that transform lives.

“Expect” is the theme for this year’s show, set for June 28-July 1 at the Orange County Convention Center. From a city built on dreams, it’s only fitting that the dream for CBA’s annual convention should offer a new vision for how the entire Christian-resources industry gathers. Highlights include:

New Exclusive Exhibit Floor Hours

  • Buyers will have devoted time for exhibit floor buying with exclusive floor hours 10 AM-4:30 PM Monday and Tuesday.
  • General session keynotes and workshops are open to exhibitors and retailers during exclusive training hours 8-10 AM Monday and Tuesday, plus afternoon training.

New Cities

CBA is working with Arrowhead Conferences and Events to finalize the next couple of years of new locations for the convention—still among the top 250 U.S. trade shows. Arrowhead’s Jill Jordan told attendees her team is working on cities where CBA will have significant leverage to help lower prices for all attendees and exhibitors.

Cities under consideration for 2016 include Cincinnati, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri; Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Louisville, Kentucky, plus several others. CBA has been working with Arrowhead for about two years to renegotiate existing event obligations and plan 2016 and beyond.

Not only will Arrowhead be leveraging facility and lodging spend, but also food and beverage purchases across venues. This could mean significant savings for exhibitors doing events outside the convention center. CBA announced it would be working to centralize exhibitor purchases and make discounted rates available.

New Programming

Training, information and future trends are important draws for attendees, and CBA is shifting its programming emphasis to ensure maximum attendance and effect. It begins with a general session on Sunday afternoon before worship services and the Sunday evening concert. The greatest changes will be seen Monday and Tuesday when general sessions and training will have exclusive hours. Exclusive exhibit-floor hours also have been designed around these sessions.

The Monday kickoff session begins at 8 AM with a keynote presentation followed by breakout sessions before the exhibit floor opens at 10 AM There will be no food service at these events, although CBA is working on sponsored beverages and light morning snacks. This will remove attendee financial barriers to attending major sessions and hearing keynote speakers.

Because of popular demand, “trendshops” will continue for the fiction and film/DVD categories and the Children’s Product Trends session will feature a new research and presentation format.

Additionally, CBA planners are building in more formal and informal time for networking and engagement opportunities among retailers, suppliers and content creators.

Key programming themes will be leadership, engagement and future retailing.

New International Programming

CBA is working on added programming that will appeal to international guests. In partnership with Media Associates International and the Magazine Training Institute, ICRS will feature specialized training and consulting for successful international publishing and magazine development and operations.

The new programs will be in addition to current international programming, such as the Global Worship Celebration on Sunday. All international events will be in the convention center, not in a separate hotel, to help facilitate relationship-building and workshop participation across the global Christian-resources community.

New Pricing

CBA reduced pricing on booths to help cut investment across the board. Through various strategies, this has resulted in exhibitors’ ability to expand marketing and promotion of new products, booth space and other elements to drive traffic and sales.

Design and Build

Recognizing one size doesn’t fit all, CBA team members are dedicated to working with exhibitors to design and build ICRS strategies that work especially for them. Exhibitors have more options in floor space, marketing, sponsorship and customer engagement and can develop specialized plans that meet their specific needs.

For the original article, click here. For more information, email Carl Dunn,, or visit the ICRS website.

Vote in March in Christian Retailing’s Best awards PDF Print E-mail
Written by Shawn Akers   
Monday, 02 March 2015 04:13 PM EST

CRsBest LogoIt’s time to vote! Christian Retailing invites anyone involved in the Christian trade to help us name the top products of 2014 in the Christian Retailing’s Best awards. The voting period runs through March 31.

Click here to vote.

Christian Retailing’s Best finalists will be announced April 6, and winners are expected to be announced at the International Christian Retail Show in Orlando, Florida, in June.

Introduced in 2001, the awards—formerly known as the Retailers Choice Awards—have been increasingly acknowledged as an important way of recognizing some of the most significant new life-changing products in the Christian retail industry.

For more information, email Awards Coordinator Jenny Rose Curtis at

New Hampshire store wins Joyce Meyer book display contest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Andrea Glickson   
Monday, 02 March 2015 04:00 PM EST

Joyce-Meyer-displayIn 2014, Faithwords, a division of Hachette Book Group, held a contest open to all U.S. retail print bookstores.  It asked for the best Joyce Meyer book display, which had to remain in place for two consecutive weeks in the store. 

After much deliberation in judging some strong entries, Faithwords has announced that the grand prize has been awarded to Parable Bible Bookstore Concord in Concord, New Hampshire. Parable secured the top prize of $4,000.

Finishing second was Solid Rock Inc., in Kearney, Nebraska ($2,000), followed by Lighthouse Christian Books in Green Bay, Wisconsin ($1,000) and Living Word Parable Christian Store in Latham, New York ($500 gift card). 

Over the past 11 years, FaithWords’ sales of Meyer’s books have topped 30 million copies. Due to that success, the company dubbed 2014, “The Year of Joyce.’

“I want to share my gratitude with the retailers who showed their immense creativity and hard work for the 2014 display contest. Your support has made the Year of Joyce one to remember for many more years to come. Congratulations to the winners!” said Meyer, who said was honored that each store took the time out to work on such creative displays.

“Hachette’s promotion allowed us to breathe a bit of new life into past Joyce Meyer titles, and it was apparent our customers were eager to discover some new favorites and old classics,” said Melissa Cheesman, manager of the Parable Bible Bookstore. “The continued interest in Joyce Meyer’s books—both new and old—is a credit to the way God has used her to influence the lives of so many. Joyce’s words continue to be effective and timely, and we are privileged to make her work available to our community.”

Meyer is one of the world’s leading practical Bible teachers. A No. 1 New York Times best-selling author, her books have helped millions of people find hope and restoration through Jesus Christ. Through Joyce Meyer Ministries, she teaches on a number of topics with a particular focus on the mind, mouth, moods and attitudes. Her candid communication style allows her to share openly and practically about her experiences so others can apply what she has learned to their lives.

“Featuring Joyce Meyer’s books in one display allowed our customers an opportunity to see and appreciate the depth and diversity of her writings. As a result, we did see an increase in sales in not only the number of books sold, but also in the variety of titles,” said Ila Ballou, manager at Solid Rock.

New product accessibility highlights AmericasMart March Market PDF Print E-mail
Written by Chelsea Peabody   
Monday, 02 March 2015 02:45 PM EST

AmericasMart-2Industry-leading educational programming and collaborations complement an efficient product sourcing experience at the Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings and Holiday Market at AmericasMart in Atlanta on March 13-15.

In alignment with other campus enhancements, AmericasMart relocates its Home and Gift temporaries to Building 1 Floor 1 for the March Market. The new location complements the January 2015 opening of the new Floor 15 Home & Design collection, the new Floor 6 bridge connecting the Home & Rug collection in Building 1 and the Gift collection in Building 2, and the new Café on 14 in Building 2.

“Relocating the Temporary collection to Building 1 Floor 1 allows us to better showcase the Market’s unique trend-driven temporary collections,” says Mary Ellen Jackson, executive director of AmericasMart Home and Gift tradeshows. “Many of these collections only show at our Spring and Fall Markets, making this Market a great opportunity to see what’s new and next in home and gift product.”

Complementing the temporary collection is The Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS), co-located at AmericasMart during the March Market. At GABBS, one of the world’s largest remainder, bargain and overstock book shows, buyers save 75 to 90% off publisher’s retail on gifts and book product including bargain books, toys, puzzles, calendars and stationery. AmericasMart buyers receive complimentary access to GABBS, located in Building 2.

In the permanent collections, the March Market allows buyers another opportunity to explore the Floor 15 collection as well as complete their Holiday 2015 buying before manufacturers’ deadlines in the nation’s number one concentration of holiday, floral and gardens merchandise.

AmericasMart augments its celebrated Market programming with a unique collaboration with Houzz—the leading platform for home remodeling and design. Beginning the day before Market on March 12, AmericasMart hosts the Houzz Your Business? conference, an exclusive home and design business educational event featuring seminars from thought leaders including Libby Langdon and Mary Knackstedt, networking opportunities and one-on-one consultations with both the Houzz and AmericasMart design experts. For more information visit

Additional Market programming includes:

  • The Education Center “Shoplifting: Because LOSS Is a Four-Letter Word” presented by Bill Bregar, president of Loss Prevention Systems Inc. Bregar shares tools to help analyze a store’s vulnerability and develop a program that will focus on preventing losses including defining who shoplifters are, how they act and how to approach them. Friday, March 13. 11 AM. Building 1, Floor 1, Meeting Room.
  • “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking” presented by Nathalie Dupree and Cynthia Graubart. Celebrated Southern chefs teach how to make fresh southern vegetables perfect for any occasion. Friday, March 13. Noon. Building 2, Floor 8, Demonstration Kitchen.
  • “Holiday Florals for Your Store and More” presented by Alvin Moore of Alvin Moore Florals. Moore teaches how to keep storesupdated with arrangements for every season and how to use those arrangements as a tool for upselling. Saturday, March 14. 10 AM. Building 1, Floor 19, Seminar Room.
  • “Gift Baskets 2.0: Workshop on Creating Upscale Gift Baskets” presented by Tim McKay of Atlanta Gift Basketier. In this hands-on demonstration, McKay teaches how to create elegant and gourmet gift baskets for any occasion. Reservations required. Saturday, March 14. 11 AM. Building 2, Floor 8, Demonstration Kitchen.

Buyers can follow the #ATLMKTFAV hashtag on social media and at during the Market to see what’s new and hot. Trend-makers including designers from The Atlanta Symphony Associates’ (ASA) 45th Annual Decorators’ Show House and Gardens benefiting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

For more information about the Atlanta Spring Gift, Home Furnishings and Holiday Market, visit

‘God’s Not Dead’ takes top honors at Movieguide Awards PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ben Laurro   
Monday, 02 March 2015 01:56 PM EST

GodsNotDeadPure Flix Entertainment’s best-selling DVD God’s Not Dead received top honors at the recent 23rd Annual Movieguide Faith & Values Awards Gala. The film received two awards, including being named in the Top 10 Movies for Family and the Epiphany Prize for the most inspiring movie of 2014.

Among those accepting the award for God’s Not Dead included film co-stars Shane Harper and Cory Oliver, director Harold Cronk, writer Cary Solomon, and producers Michael Scott, Elizabeth Travis, David A.R. White, and Russell Wolfe. Wolfe, who is fighting the disease ALS, received a standing ovation for his continued brave battle, and a special prayer from Movieguide founder Ted Baehr.

The Epiphany Prize, in partnership with the John Templeton Foundation, awards $100,000 to “encourage the production of feature films and television programs which are uplifting inspirational and acknowledge God’s love, His mercy and His grace.”

“We are grateful and humbled by the Movieguide awards presented to Pure Flix, and equally thankful to everyone that helped make God’s Not Dead one of the highest grossing indie films of 2014,” Scott said. “This time has also allowed us to honor our business partner, brother and friend Russell Wolfe through his testimony that continues to remind that God is good all the time … and all the time God is good.”

Movieguide Faith & Values Awards gives honor to television and film projects for the previous year for their “entertainment value, for craftsmanship and for creating programming that is uplifting, inspirational, moral and redemptive.”

The show, which also featured a performance from Grammy Award-winning rapper Lecrae, members of the Duck Dynasty clan and a surprise appearance from 25-time GRAMMY winner Stevie Wonder in a live tribute to Andraé Crouch, was broadcast on ReelzChannel.

‘The Devil in Pew Number Seven' to hit the big screen PDF Print E-mail
Written by Leif Helland   
Monday, 02 March 2015 01:38 PM EST

Devil-Prew-SevenAFFIRM Films and Mass Hysteria Entertainment Inc. have announced their partnership to develop a motion picture based on the book, The Devil In Pew Number Seven.

Written by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo with Bob DeMoss and released by Tyndale House Publishers Inc. in 2010, The Devil In Pew Number Seven tells the true story of Nichols, a young girl who loses her parents when they stand up against evil within their church. Decades later, Rebecca must address if it was worth losing everything.

“Rebecca Nichols Alonzo’s story touched our whole team,” said Rich Peluso, Senior Vice President of AFFIRM Films. “Her journey through healing and forgiveness recounted before thousands of people across the country proved both engrossing and engaging. We look forward to working with Rebecca, Dan Grodnik and Steve Armour to bring this story to film.”

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is a compelling look at the power of love and forgiveness,” said Mass Hysteria CEO and Producer Dan Grodnik. “We are excited to begin the creative journey with Rich Peluso and his AFFIRM Films team.”

Steve Armour has been hired to adapt the book.

Film synopsis: Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There, he found a small community eager to welcome him—with one exception. Glaring at him from pew number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church. Determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined.

Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, Rebecca’s father stood his ground, until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen … And Rebecca’s life was shattered. If anyone had a reason to harbor hatred and seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number Seven tells a different story. It is the amazing true saga of relentless persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness.

The Parable Group launches 2nd annual writing contest PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sally Ross   
Monday, 02 March 2015 12:54 PM EST

Parable-contestThe Parable Group, its retail partners and WestBow Press—the strategic self-publishing division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, the world’s largest Christian publisher—have announced that they are accepting submissions for their Second Annual Aspiring Authors Writing Contest.

Top 10 finalists will be announced Sunday, June 21, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, before the International Christian Retail Show.

“Now more than ever the world is in need of positive, inspirational Christian messages that help people deal with the challenges of our time,” said Steve Potratz, president of The Parable Group. “I believe books can be used by the Holy Spirit to transform hearts one person at a time, one message at a time. This is why I’m intrigued by the growing movement of undiscovered authors eager to help other people through their books. We’re honored to help those fresh voices get heard.”

The grand prize-winning book of the Second Annual Aspiring Authors Writing Contest will be self-published with WestBow Press and reviewed for possible traditional publication by Thomas Nelson and Zondervan. Additionally, upon publication the grand-prize winner will receive a free marketing package from The Parable Group to promote the prize-winning book in catalogs and in bookstores across the nation.

In 2014, debut author Richard Newberry won the inaugural Aspiring Authors Writing Contest with his young adult Christian novel Light at the Rat Pond, an inspiring story set in 1970s Illinois. His book is available in Parable stores nationwide and on

“We’re excited to partner with The Parable Group to give aspiring authors the opportunity to rise above the crowd and get noticed,” said Pete Nikolai, Publisher of WestBow Press and Director of Publishing Services for HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

The 2015 Aspiring Authors Writing Contest is open to authors who are at least 18 and have written an unpublished manuscript that is at least 10,000 words in length. Most genres are eligible, excluding children’s and picture books. All submissions must be received by May 31, 2015.

For more information, including the complete list of prizes, rules and regulations, and an explanation of editorial standards, please visit:

InterVarsity Press inks Tampa pastor to book deal PDF Print E-mail
Written by Krista Carnet   
Thursday, 26 February 2015 11:06 AM EST

Tommy-KyllonenPastor, author and recording artist Tommy “Urban D.” Kyllonen has signed a publishing deal with InterVarsity Press for his upcoming book, ReBuild: Reset Your Life. Renew Your Church. Reshape Your World.

ReBuild offers tools for people to rebuild their brokenness and help rebuild those around them. Kyllonen shares powerful stories from his personal life and ministry, including his church’s incredible journey of rebuilding a 43,000-square-foot Toys “R” Us building in the heart of Tampa’s urban community. The biblical story of Nehemiah is woven through the book, reminding us how Jerusalem was rebuilt physically, spiritually and economically.

ReBuild will be released in October 2015 in time for the 15th annual Urban Leadership Conference “Flavor Fest,” hosted at Crossover Church. This year’s theme is “ReBuild.”

Urban D. will also be releasing his final full-length album, his eighth project, at the same time with the same title as the book. The album will feature songs with the same titles and concepts as the book chapters. The physical version of the album will also feature a full-length documentary (Space Cherry Films) about Crossover Church and its unique ministry of rebuilding people in the urban community.

Additionally, Crossover Church will launch a six-week “ReBuild” message series from the new book in February 2016 and invite other churches to join them. They will provide free small-group curriculum, video content and message outlines.

Kyllonen has been in full-time urban ministry for more than nineteen years at Crossover Church in Tampa and became the lead pastor 13 years ago. Under his leadership, the church has grown from a handful of people to more than one thousand weekly attendees, making this innovative multiethnic, multigenerational and multieconomic church a model.

Kyllonen has recorded seven hip-hop albums, written two books, published 25 issues of S.O.U.LMAG magazine and hosts S.O.U.LMAG TV on Trinity Broadcasting Network’s JUCE TV. He has also coached more than 50 urban church planters/pastors through his Urban Coaching Network.

“We are delighted to welcome Tommy Kyllonen into the IVP family,” said Helen Lee, associate editor for IVP Books/IVP Praxis. “His unique and extensive experiences both in church ministry and in the world of hip-hop will appeal to a wide range of readers, and his commitment to multiethnicity fits perfectly with our values as an organization. We are excited to partner with Tommy in bringing ReBuild to the marketplace, and we know that all who read his book will be challenged, encouraged and inspired.”

For more information about Kyllonen, visit

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