Christian Retailing

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ADVICE: Dear Betty Bookstore PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:48 AM EDT

Recently I have noticed that every store I enter has “sale" sections. How many sale promotions are too many?

Sale promotions are wonderful if they accomplish their intended purpose. Many times, sales are just a way to “discard” items that are remainders. Thus you would not want to make the face or look of your store to be older sale product.

CULTURE WATCH: Teens and role models PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:47 AM EDT

 A study conducted by Barna Group offers some encouragement to those concerned about who teenagers look to as role models. When asked who they most admired other than their parents, 37% of the 13- to 17-year-olds questioned said another family member—a grandparent, sister, brother, cousin, aunt or uncle.

After “family,” the teens mentioned teachers and coaches (11%), friends (9%), and pastors or other religious leaders they know personally (6%). Entertainers—including musicians and actors—were named by 6% of teens, followed by sports heroes (5%) and political and faith leaders (4% each). Then came business leaders, authors, science and medical professionals, other artists and members of the military (1% each).

VIRTUAL SHOW: Jewelry maker highlighted in winter show PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:44 AM EDT

Deirdre & Company's products are being highlighted in Christian Retailing's Virtual Christian Retailing Winter Show.

Running through March 31, the show spotlights some of the key new and backlist products from several leading suppliers. Access to the online event is free, with visiting retailers also eligible for a drawing to win an Apple iPad.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Making the grade PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:43 AM EDT

Graduation season is coming: What do you do in your church and in your store to celebrate these big life transitions for your congregation?

Share your experiences and ideas with others. Write to

Wednesday, 16 March 2011 09:41 AM EDT

“From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”

Ephesians 4:16, New International Version

GENI: Join me at an event not to be missed PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 02:45 PM EST

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

It is that time of year again—when church bookstore managers and workers from across the country come together for fellowship, education and spiritual renewal.

This year, after a winter of ice, snow and various other weather nastiness for many of us, it is going to be really good to spend a few days in sunny Orlando, Florida—the city for this year’s get-together for church and other bookstores, this year called Retailing ReBoot 2011. We will meet April 26-28 at the lovely Florida Hotel and Conference Center.

Retailing ReBoot will be a unique, redesigned event that will address the issues you are dealing with today and that will impact how you do ministry and business tomorrow. It is something you will not want to miss. There will be wonderful times of education, sharing and fellowship. There will also be an exhibit floor with vendors where you can visit, learn and place orders.

Some of the special moments that we always enjoy when we come together are the times of joint praise & worship along with the personal times of prayer and meditation. This year will be no exception as we pray with and for each other.

Every year after our event, I get thank-you e-mails and notes telling me how much this time together with other church bookstore professionals has meant to the writer. And always there is the comment, “I will see you next year. This is the one event I don’t want to miss.”

So put the date on your calendar, make your airline reservations, buy some sunscreen and plan to meet with us in Orlando. Be sure to watch for more details in the Christian Retailing Update e-newsletter and at the Web site

Now, confession time ... for several years now I have chosen a notebook each year that I use to collect miscellaneous names, phone numbers, notes from conversations and other scribblings that are important. It brings together what before was written on individual sticky notes that decorated the edges of my computer and any other vacant spot I could find in my office.

Then a secretary in our building showed me her collection of notebooks and how she could refer back to them and I decided that was a far better method. Sadly, on one of my recent flights I got my current notebook out to review some notes and left it behind when I disembarked. The airline was not much interested in my lost notebook.

That is why you may not have received a return call from me or something I was going to send. I decided it was better to confess my mistake rather than have you think I ignored or forgot you. If you are one of those people, please feel free to e-mail me at

They say confession is good for the soul—and I feel better already. The item that is at the top of my replacement notebook is “plans for Retailing ReBoot.” Now let me see: airline tickets, hotel reservations, oh,yes—and “the notebook.”

RETAILING REBOOT: Renamed and refocused PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 02:42 PM EST

The annual event for church and independent Christian bookstore managers and staff hosted by Christian Retailing and The Church Bookstore magazines is getting a new focus and a new name.

Formerly known as The Gathering, the three-day program of inspiration, training and business will become Retailing ReBoot, April 26-28.

To be held at the Florida Hotel and Convention Center, Orlando, the conference theme will be “Engaging Without Limits,” looking at how retailers can connect more closely with God, with their customers and with their suppliers.

The event will feature workshops and discussions, an exhibition floor, an author's reception and the announcement of the winners of Christian Retailing's 2011 Retailers Choice Awards.

“We all know that consumers have multiple options for purchasing Christian products these days, but with all the developments in digital publishing, it is more pressing than ever that stores look at what they need to do to remain relevant,” said Dave Condiff, Christian Retailing and The Church Bookstore publisher.

“It's imperative that they engage more closely with their suppliers and learn more how to serve their customers where they, the customers, are,” he said. “We want to provide a place where we can learn from each other some ways to do that—and from a foundation that is our trust in God to lead and guide us.”

Condiff said that the new name for the event was intended to capture the importance of updating retail practices. In addition, though The Gathering had been open to independent and other Christian retail stores for the past couple of years, since it had begun as The Gathering of Church Bookstores in 2005, some people still thought it was only for church-based retailers.

“Everyone involved in Christian retailing in its different forms is being impacted right now, and we want to learn from and encourage each other,” he said.

Click here for more details of Retailing ReBoot 2011.

RETAILING REBOOT: Why you need to be there PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 02:36 PM EST

Previous attendees of The Gathering say:

A must meeting: “It is the only meeting in my travel budget. Although there are other places and venues to see and purchase product, I choose this meeting because it has both the gift vendors as well as the publishers that are willing to cater to my store and other church-owned bookstores. It is also a place to meet and share with others who are struggling with the same challenges and opportunities I face on a daily basis. I make it a point to share with vendors that if they want to show me their new product and solidify our relationship, this is where I will be. I look forward to this meeting all year long.”


Dennis Woods, manager

 Water’s Edge Resource Center

Sugar Creek Baptist Church

Sugar Land, Texas


Renewed energy: “It is simply the highlight of my business year. I've always come back with renewed energy to approach our ministry/business with fresh eyes. The connections that I've made with fellow retailers and vendors has been invaluable to the success of our store.”

Susan Chipman

Director of retail services

Granger Community Church

Granger, Ind.


Shared passion: “When we get together and talk about what is going on in each others' bookstores, you find out that most stores are having the same issues you do and you get encouragement to go back and face your challenges and even go back and try new ideas that someone else has done. When you leave you feel energized and you have made new friends that you can contact throughout the upcoming year. You will always learn something new and find new product to place in your store. And it's always great to see the friends you have made in the past.”

Dottie Poythress

Media center director

Johnson Ferry Baptist Church

Marietta, Ga.


Unique experience: “For a bookstore manager, the unique combination of fellowship, fresh ideas and spiritual encouragement that I receive is an exceptional experience that is not duplicated anywhere else. The relationships that are formed there create a support system that I rely on throughout the year. I look forward to attending in the spring, and encourage other bookstore partners to do so as well.”

Janet McKinley


The Bookstore at First Baptist Church of Atlanta



Valuable insights: “It is a great way to share ideas and challenges with others who share our passion for ministry. I've made new friends and gained much valuable insight from these events over the years and look forward to these times of refreshing and renewal.”

Dan Ray


The Source Christian Bookstore

Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Liberty, Mo.


Growth time: “It is an awesome occasion to connect with other church bookstores in a very accessible atmosphere. It's a chance for learning and a way to get fresh perspectives and new ideas. The exhibit floor provides opportunities to see a lot of product under one roof and build relationships with vendors.

The wonderful fellowship, inspiring speakers and uplifting worship bring the added bonus of a time of renewal for anyone who attends. Coming to this event has been an important part of my growth and development as a church bookstore manager.”

Heidi Macias


Books of Hope

Community of Hope Church

Rosemont, Minn.

INSIGHTS: Recruiting, training and rewarding volunteers PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 02:29 PM EST

by Luane Bastianelli

Recruiting: Usually, we have a wait list for people to volunteer. We bring people in when we get potential volunteers. We call them, screen them, see what their availability is. They will go onto a sub list, or we will try to move them into some type of support position through the week.

From there, if a volunteer has a weekend that they cannot work, they can contact these (new) people and have them come in and work for them. And then we invite them to join our team on a regular basis. Over our five campuses we have over a hundred volunteers.

Training: We do several different things. When they first come we do orientation with them ... it’s kind of like a scavenger hunt. I have a number of questions, items that they need to look up, things that they need to research within the store. They take a clipboard and kind of roam around the store and try to find the answers to all of these questions.

Some of the questions involve interacting with other people on the staff. I like to have my seasoned volunteers help to train the regular volunteers because the one thing that is always a challenge with volunteers is a lot of times they don’t feel confident. They work a couple times a month, and it can take a long time to say they have actually been with us a month.

It’s very encouraging to them to see, "Wow, I do know more than I thought." So, I usually pair them up after orientation with somebody on the team. We’ll take them through the basics on the computer and they’ll be side-by-side with somebody that’s been with us for awhile.

Motivation: We just love on them, we appreciate them. We make sure we think of them for birthdays and their anniversaries with us, and when they have babies and sick people in their families, loved ones that have passed away. We try to treat them like family and like we like to be treated. Doing that and, too, making sure that the time that they spend with us is well-spent.

I don’t think anyone wants to come in on a Sunday, stand around and feel like, “What am I here for?”. We also do a lot of training with them. We use a lot of different models, like with Zondervan's Bible study. A lot of the vendors now are offering customer service training, where you can learn about the product and in doing so you earn either an item from their stock or maybe a credit for items to purchase.

—Luane Bastianelli was manager of The Resource Center at Kensington Community Church in Troy, Mich. 

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Big on Bibles PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 02:23 PM EST

Bibles are naturally a cornerstone of most church stores, but there is an opportunity to bring heightened awareness to the category this year, with the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible and the release of the updated New International Version. Make sure that the space and display style given to the Bible recognizes its foundational place in your store—as here at The Bethlehem Bookstore at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn. 

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