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Wednesday, 21 July 2010 11:33 AM EDT
"This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent."
(Jn. 17:3, God's Word Translation)
Wednesday, 21 July 2010 11:31 AM EDT
Ellie Claire highlighted in virtual retail show

Ellie Claire/Summerside Press is a featured company in Christian Retailing's new, online product-preview and buying service for retailers.

The Virtual Christian Retailing Show runs through Labor Day, Sept. 6, and will help stores set themselves for the fall and Christmas seasons with product news, order specials and training. The magazine's fourth virtual trade event features more than 30 suppliers--including gift vendors such as Swanson Christian Products and Robert Spooner Galerie--with their "booths" presenting new and recent releases and offering links for orders and specials.

CREATIVE THINKING: lessons from the International Christian Retail Show PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rick Tocquigny   
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:36 AM EDT

The great city of St. Louis was the location for the Christian product industry's mid-summer show-our 16th time participating. The International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) means taking time out to meet as a community, evaluate ourselves as individuals and as a company and to use the show's four days to make sure we are "on track" as Christ's kingdom builders.

Here are some lessons we learned from this year's show:

ICRS was an oasis this year. It was a Prov. 27:17 event with an intentional purpose and spirit of "iron sharpening iron." At Gracefully Yours, we experienced an outpouring of positive feedback and specific product ideas for 2011.

The spirit of judgment was missing. Colleagues spent time talking about what we can accomplish as an authentic community versus commiserating about the economy. We were better stewards of our time by focusing on "adding value" with new ideas, products and solutions to serve our customers.

ICRS NEWS PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:35 AM EDT
Gift companies find cooperation is key

The challenges of the gift market prompted a new collaboration at ICRS, with candle supplier Bec and Chelle displaying alongside Show Off Arts (SOA) and the two exhibitors covering for each other.

"The economy is difficult right now, so if, as ventures, we can find ways to promote one another, that is key," said Bec & Chelle owner Bob Mueller. "The cooperative element is the key."

In addition to the show floor partnership, Bec & Chelle has entered a first licensing agreement that sees 14 of SOA's youthful designs on 3.75-ounce travel tin candles, retailing for $6.99 each. The line was debuted at ICRS.

SOA also introduced seven new designs across its canvases, note cards and notepads, plaques and its first line of jewelry. The dog tags ($15 retail) and clay necklaces ($24 retail) carry popular SOA designs on the front and a scripture verse on the back.

ICRS NEWS PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:33 AM EDT

Jewelry collection highlights birthplace of Jesus

Among several debut gift exhibitors was The Nativity Stones Collection, whose jewelry features authenticated chips from stones from the manger room in the Cave of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely held to mark the birthplace of Jesus.

Sold on television during the 1990s, the crosses, brooches, pendants and rosaries are being made available to Christian retail stores for the first time. "There has been an incredible response, a lot of interest," said Diane Keith, whose father, Stanley Slotkin, brought the stones to the U.S. in 1964.

"It has been very worthwhile being here," Keith said.

Originally donated to nonprofit organizations to help with fundraising, the stones were later made available direct to consumer. The television promotions were hosted by actor Ricardo Montalban and singer Kathy Troccoli. A portion of the proceeds from sales will go to charities, including the American Cancer Society.

ICRS NEWS PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:31 AM EDT
Slingshot meets demand for T-shirt line

Slingshot Publishing took aim at a category with its launch of a line of T-shirts.

The company rolled out 20 designs from more than 150 that have been completed for release at some stage, from existing designs on other products to new creations.

"It just made sense," said President Mike Clark of the move. "We know there's tough competition, but we think we can take a serious chunk of it with our expertise. We have been asked non-stop when we were going to start doing tees."

Existing designs have been taken from some of Slingshot's popular posters and laptop skins. New ones include "Intelligent Design" over a fingerprint, "My Dad Created Your Dad" and "I'm Too Cool for Hell." Made from high-quality spun cotton, the tees retail for $14.99 each.

ICRS NEWS PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:29 AM EDT
Visit ICRS online

To see some photos of the many personalities and happenings at ICRS, click here.

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:28 AM EDT
Blossom Bucket launches new ordering system

Blossom Bucket has introduced new EZ-Order groups that make purchasing easier for buyers.

"We introduce an incredible amount of new product each season, and selecting which items to buy can be a daunting process for our clients," said Blossom Bucket President Cindy Lowry. "With the EZ-Order groups, we're taking the pressure off the customers. They don't have to chose product piece by piece while keeping track of open-to-buy dollars-we've already done that for them."

Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:24 AM EDT
Toy company calls children on board the Bible train

Alphabet Alley has introduced the new children's product line "Bible Train Adventures," which includes board books, coordinating puzzles and matching games.

The train's conductor, Nichodemus, leads children under 5 years of age on adventures through the Bible. A new Bible Train Adventures (BTA) Web site,, also will be launched this month with child-friendly games and activities.

TOP TEN GIFTS: apparel PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 July 2010 09:02 AM EDT
1. One Nation Under God T-shirt (Kerusso) $5.99 S-XL, $7.99 XXL, red, white and blue
2. Father's Day TruthTag (B&H Publishing Group) $1.49
3. 2010 VBS High Seas Expedition staff T-shirt (Group Publishing) $7.99 S-XL, $9.99 XXL
4. 2010 VBS High Seas Expedition T-shirt (Group Publishing) $3.99 S-XL, $5.99 XXL
5. Walk in the Light LED mini flashlight (Kerusso) $4.99
6. Jer. 29:11 Graduation TruthTag (B&H Publishing Group) $1.49
7. Cross pin (Swanson Christian Products) 99 cents
8. Mr. Right T-shirt (Kerusso) $17.99 S-XL
9. 2010 VBS Hero HeadQuarters iron-ons (Standard Publishing) $12.99
10. Crown pin (Swanson Christian Products) 99 cents

List based on sales data for June 1-30, 2010, provided by Christian Books & More Gold and used with permission.

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