|Covenant Group adds Berean Christian Stores|
|Sunday, 10 June 2012 11:00 PM EDT|
Berean's membership, effective immediately, increases Covenant Group's stores by approximately 50%.
"We are delighted to welcome Berean Christian Stores back," said Covenant Group founder and President Chuck Wallington. "We have a long history of working with Berean on their marketing needs to both consumers and churches. In addition, our long-term relationship with [Chief Operation Officer] Bill Nielsen has always been one of great respect and admiration as friendly competitors in the marketplace.
"To have Bill and his team as part of the expanding Covenant Group family is both a privilege and exciting," added Wallington, owner of Christian Supply in Spartanburg, S.C. "We look forward to producing even more effective promotions and programs for all of our member stores, vendor partners and the literally millions of customers we serve."
Covenant Group provides marketing and support services to stores with a standard program for retailers with annual income of more than $1 million, and an affiliate program for stores under $1 million in annual sales. Its comprehensive and coordinated marketing approach was one of the reasons Berean, a Cincinnati-based chain, chose to join Covenant Group, officials said.
"I have admired the work and leadership of Chuck Wallington for many years and am pleased to now join him in this new and exciting way," Nielsen said. "Our stores are eager to fully support the Covenant Group and their effective marketing campaigns. I am convinced that Covenant strategies will drive significantly more traffic into Berean Christian Stores making our in-store merchandising and customer service programs more appealing than ever."
As the country's second largest independent Christian chain, Covenant Group's combined purchasing power and promotional reach increases substantially for its member retailers. Berean will begin participating in all purchasing efforts in August, initiating the mailing of promotional catalogs in September and utilizing the comprehensive church supply catalog from Covenant this fall, officials said.
Deanna Gimelli and her husband, Joseph, bought Berean for almost $2 million in August 2009. The former owners of a California winery, the Gimellis bought t Berean—which dates back to 1934—after it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2009.
Bought by a private equity firm from Standex International in 2006, Berean grew to 26 stores, but cut the number by a third as it hit cash flow problems in 2008.