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The Church Bookstore Newsletter

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INSIGHTS: How gift extras can promote your store PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 03:07 pm UTC
by Kelly Graham

It is amazing how the wrapping of a gift adds to its perceived value and makes the recipient feel even more special. Gifts wrapped at stores also have a special quality about them that helps brand the retailer, too: Everyone knows a blue Tiffany box comes from the famous jeweler.

If you are considering a gift service in your store, think about:

Budget: Will you offer it for free, as a form of advertising, or charge some minimal fee for the time and effort involved? Some stores charge for gift-wrapping but then offer to waive the fee if a customer spends more than a certain dollar amount.

Supplies: Flat wrap, gift bags, decorative boxes or a combination? Your budget will most likely determine the quality and quantity of materials you choose. To keep costs low and maintain a uniform look, it is wise to choose an all-occasion wrap in which you can just change out the color of the ribbon for seasonal use.

If your budget does not allow you to personalize in such a way, you might consider choosing a color that represents your store or church, and add a seal or sticker with your store's information that will complement the packaging.

Training: Some staff will have the natural ability to gift-wrap and will need little training. Other employees will needs lots of training and practice. Many craft stores as well as gift markets offer free seminars and classes throughout the year.

If you do not train your staff properly, you will be wasting supplies and may not get the look you are trying to achieve.

Alternatives: If you do not have the space, manpower or budget to accommodate a gift-wrapping service, you could hand it over to another group or ministry within the church. Some church bookstores let their youth groups, schools or mission groups provide gift-wrapping services for donations to their ministries.

Before you enter into an agreement with another group, you might want to make sure your business administrator is on board and that you come up with a written agreement with the ministry that will be offering the service.

This agreement should stipulate who purchases the materials, the times the service will be offered, the advertising that will take place and expectations of conduct and quality of the gift-wrapping.

-Kelly Graham is co-manager and buyer for Prestonwood Bookstore at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, the 2006 Church Bookstore of the Year.

-Click here to read the complete article:

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Dynamic displays PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 03:01 pm UTC
Items of household furniture can be turned into striking and effective display units, with a little creativity. An old chest presents cushions attractively at The Well Bookstore at The United Methodist Church of the resurrection in Leawood, Kan.
ADVICE: Dear Betty PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 02:59 pm UTC
I want to expand the gifts I carry in my store to include more for men. What should I do?

I spend many hours each year searching out great gifts for men. Of course, you already have the best gifts of all with books and Bibles. But then, even ol' dad needs a little pampering, so take heart. There are wonderful gifts out there for the finding.

In purchasing gifts designed for men, remember that women, who represent more than 75% of all retail sales, will actually be the ones buying many of these gifts. So, make sure that your displays appeal to women, while keeping the overall look "manly."

Purchase items that a woman thinks a man needs. Bible markers, journals and audiobooks are winners. Books that fall in the Christian Living category have great offerings. Books by sports figures, leadership motivators and doctors are good choices.

In apparel, you could add ties with scripture designs. For the sportsmen in your church, there are outdoorsmen T-shirts and hunting hats as well as Bible covers and hats in camouflage.

Wooden pen sets, leather journals and key rings are all available with scriptures engraved on them. And for the handymen, there are flashlights and tape measures. Also, beautiful framed art pieces could hang in an office.

With a little research, the right display and positioning in the store is all you need to make men's gifts fly off the shelves.

Got a question for Betty Bookstore? Write to her at

CHURCH LIFE: 'Let's talk about sex' PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 02:57 pm UTC
You may want to review the resources you provide related to relationships, sex and marriage, in the light of a new initiative by the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

The group representing 40 denominations and scores of evangelical organizations has produced the document, Theology of Sex, as part of a move to reduce the number of abortions by encouraging young adults to respect sex and the sanctity of life.

"America has an abortion problem," said Leith Anderson, NAE President. "Yes, we are grateful that the abortion rate has declined. But, a million abortions in the United States every year is unacceptable. The NAE is engaging a fresh national dialogue seeking effective ways to significantly reduce the number of abortions."

The NAE board of directors recently adopted a resolution supporting "constructive efforts toward decreasing the number of abortions in America."

The NAE's Generation Forum will host events across the country to "create dialogue" about how local churches can be involved in effectively decreasing the number of abortions in their congregations and communities.

"We do not wish to exalt a one-size-fits-all approach to abortion reduction," stated the NAE resolution. "Rather, we urge church leaders, always with a mind to honor God's gifts of life and sex and his holy institutions of marriage and family, to seek out strategies appropriate for their congregations and communities."

Source: National Association of Evangelicals

For more information, go to

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Small group resources PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 June 2010 02:50 pm UTC
Providing study resources for small groups in your church is a great way to serve the congregation and also introduce members to your store and the other materials you have available. How do you connect with and promote to small groups—and their leaders—in your church?

Share your thoughts and experiences with others by e-mailing

Tuesday, 08 June 2010 02:49 pm UTC
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."
Phil. 4:19, New International Version
GENI: Meet me in St. Louis! PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:53 am UTC

A message from Geni Hulsey, president of the Church Bookstore Network:

I have attended CBA events since joining the Christian products industry in 1993 and want to share with you four reasons for joining me at the International Christian Retail Show in St. Louis next month.

Business: The centerpiece of the show—and of any trade show—is the vendor exhibit floor. It is here that you see new products, learn how to promote those items and make friends with the companies who so wonderfully serve our industry.

As I visit each booth, I am always impressed with how much effort each vendor has put into its presence. They bring authors, musicians and artisans so that you might get to know the heart behind the products. They are generous beyond belief with free product so that you might preview items or read books to see how they will fit into the ministry of your store.

Education is another reason for attending ICRS. Few of us know all that we need to about what we have been called to do. For church bookstores, there will be many classes that will be pertinent to you as a manager in Christian retail, but there will be one that you especially will not want to miss.

One of the major topics discussed in any group of church bookstore managers is how to engage the staff in the ministry and the process of the bookstore. A staff fully engaged will not only enhance the ministry of the store, but the individual ministries in the church. At ICRS, we will have a great panel discussion with church bookstore managers who have dealt with this problem.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:51 am UTC
CBA's big summer show in St. Louis, June 27-30, includes two sessions specifically geared towards church bookstores-on Tuesday, June 29-as part of its educational offerings.

"Using Social Media to Market Your Church Store" will look at how church stores can integrate social-media tools already being used in the church to help build a stronger community around the store.

"Aligning Church Leadership With Your Ministry" will examine how to ensure that church leaders understand and are on track with the direction of the store.

For more information, go to

INSIGHTS: Handling special requests PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:45 am UTC
by Terri Williams

If you're not careful, what started as a retail outlet can become much more—the church lost and found, the information desk for visitors, the place for members to sell whatever they want and the registration table for ministry events.

In other words, your church bookstore can become a dumping ground for the ministries and members of the church. After being inundated with all manner of requests, we discovered that the best way to handle them was to set guidelines and boundaries.

For example, several church members decided that the bookstore would be a great location to drop off materials for another member to pick up at a later date or after Sunday services. This would create a nightmare scenario for us when desk and counter space got covered with items.

The answer—create a policy that you do not accept anything from anyone unless it is for bookstore staff. All store employees should enforce this policy at the door, so customers won't have to discuss it with management every time a request is made.

If your store is like ours, you often get requests to borrow materials or to give them as donations for door prizes or special events. Remember, it is OK to say no at the time a request is made if you do not have anything to give away.

To avoid saying no all the time, consider keeping some items that are slightly damaged or some overstock merchandise for the purpose of helping ministries in need.

Requests to sell products from church members and non-members alike can become a nuisance for any church bookstore—especially when they come on a weekly, or daily, basis.

In the past, we have been overwhelmed with requests from everyone from the Bible encyclopedia salesman to a pastor's wife who made Bible covers to a member of the choir who would soon see the release of his first CD.

So, whenever someone makes a request, tell them you would be happy to review their book, listen to their CD or review their product if they leave it with you, and that a follow-up call will be made within two weeks.

Be flexible, though. Even with a policy in place to address every conceivable request made in the store, there will still be instances where you will have to make judgment calls on the spur of the moment.

-Terri Williams has managed Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship's bookstore in Dallas for more than 20 years.

-Click here to read the complete article:

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Work with what you have PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 26 May 2010 09:09 am UTC
Sometimes the location and interior design of your store may be less than perfect, but rather than just wishing things were better, look for ways to make the most of what you do have. The Chapel Store at Calvary Chapel of Melbourne in West Melbourne, Fla., has a pillar in the center of the store—so they covered it with slatwall and used it as an additional display opportunity. 
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