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GENI: Untangling the tape area PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:33 AM EDT
A message from Geni Hulsey, president of the Church Bookstore Network:

Recently I had an e-mail from a great bookstore manager asking how most church bookstores handle message recordings of their Sunday services and any other recordings by visiting speakers. To me, his inquiry sure sounded like the basis of a good article.

I decided to ask some very knowledgeable folks--the regional directors of the Church Bookstore Network--for their input, and the answers I received were, much as I expected, quite different. That is the very essence of the church bookstore-business and ministry is orchestrated by the leadership of each particular church.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:32 AM EDT
Church bookstore representatives are being offered a free registration to The Great American Bargain Book Show (GABBS) in Boston.

At least half of the vendors scheduled to attend GABBS at the Hynes Convention Center, Aug. 19-20, will be offering popular Christian titles for as little as 10 cents on the dollar, according to GABBS organizer Larry May, who said about 40,000 book titles will be available. "This is a great opportunity for church bookstores to stock up for the coming winter holiday season," May said.

To take advantage of the free registration offer, church bookstore representatives should visit the GABBS Web site,, to register. GABBS is one of the three largest bargain book shows in the U.S., organized annually by L.B. May & Associates of Knoxville, Tenn.

INSIGHTS: Working out your space needs PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:31 AM EDT
by George Thomsen

One of the hardest questions to answer in planning a church bookstore is: What size store do I need?
A church must consider the size of its present congregation, as well as realistic growth expectations.

If the store is too small, it will be difficult to properly merchandise products, and sales potential will not be realized. If the store is too large, space that could be better utilized for other ministry areas is wasted. Merchandise then is spread too thinly around the store, and the store possibly becomes a financial burden to the church and its congregation.

PICTURE OF THE WEEK: Making a statement PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:30 AM EDT
It's not just how your store looks inside that will draw shoppers, but how you present it throughout the rest of the church. When East Valley Bible Church in Gilbert, Ariz., opened The Commons--a combined bookstore and meeting area--there was an emphasis on the "community" that they offered to church members.
ADVICE: Dear Betty Bookstore PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:28 AM EDT
Is a virtual store worth our time and energy?

A virtual store is a must for today's market. Aside from just the visibility your store will get from having a presence on the Web, some customers find it more convenient to order products online.

First, you need to have a Web site. Keep it simple at the start. It should include directions to your store and basic information like hours and contact information. Pictures are a must.

CHURCH LIFE: Teens turning tepid PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:26 AM EDT
As you stock your section serving teens, bear in mind that the the current generation is less spiritually active than their predecessors, according to the Barna Group.

The organization's latest study found adolescents to be "much less inclined toward spirituality" than were teens a dozen years ago. Six of nine religious activities were discovered to be at their lowest levels since Barna began tracking such teen behaviors.

ANSWERS OF THE WEEK: Facts and fixtures PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:26 AM EDT
We asked, where do you get your display furnishings?

I use a lot of baker shelf-type units. The Robert H. Ham company has some great shelves, very inexpensive. Also, I go to Hobby Lobby. Using these types of shelves allows me to make small areas and rearrange often.

Sue Nelson
The Scroll Bookstore
First Evangelical Free Church
Rockford, Ill.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Shelf schedules PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:25 AM EDT
It's important to get new products out on the shelves as soon as possible. When and how do you replenish and restock displays? During store open times or after hours? What works best for you and why?

Share your ideas and experiences with others at

Wednesday, 28 July 2010 08:23 AM EDT
"Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."
Prov. 23:5, New International Version
GENI: Signs of hope in St. Louis PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 July 2010 02:46 PM EDT

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

Since 1993, I have packed my bags and headed off for the CBA summer event that brings together vendors and store managers, frontliners, internationals, authors and artists and others affiliated with Christian retail.

Though I am always excited to see friends—vendors, store managers and workers—and to look for new products and talk with authors and artists, my anticipation was different as I made my plans to attend this year's International Christian Retail Show (ICRS).

The differences this year were that the leadership of CBA had changed, the format of the event was a bit different, and a lot of the familiar processes had been changed. I knew, too, that this show was operating on a far tighter budget than before.

Having been a part of planning The Gathering-a similar effort-I knew that it would be a challenge to bring the quality that we have seen in the past with fewer resources, both money and manpower.

But, you know what, they did it! All of the elements of a good retail show were there at last month's ICRS in St. Louis, and none of the extras that might have been there before were missed.

On the opening Sunday evening, we began with a time of worship, praise and thanksgiving. The music was diverse and well received. The entire program was full of challenge and encouragement. In a moment that was both tender and graceful, the association presented Bill Anderson, the group's immediate past-president, with a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award.

The evening set the tone for three more days that were upbeat, well-planned and had a constant air of, "What can we do to make this a better experience for you?"

I liked the venue in St. Louis a lot. Obviously, there were fewer in attendance and fewer vendors than in the early years, but because this was a smaller convention hall, it felt busy and active all three days.

The vendors seemed excited about the rebuilding process. It is no secret to anyone that they have fewer stores to work with and that those stores, in turn, have fewer resources. But as I talked with vendor after vendor, I heard them not whining, but asking for help in finding "win-win" answers, offering solutions and encouragement to stores that are committed to "hanging in there."

The store representatives seemed genuinely pleased with what they were finding in the way of new products from familiar vendors and totally new vendors.

In addition to seeing a lot of people who have become dear friends through the years, I also had managers of new church stores introduce themselves to me. Each vendor seemed sensitive to the special needs of church bookstores. There were classes that spoke directly to the operation of a church store as well as workshops that were suitable for anyone managing a store.

The overriding theme of the event seemed to be to seek solutions to the quickly changing face of Christian retail. Vendors were listening to retailers, and retailers were seeking solutions from vendors. The leadership team of CBA seemed to be glad to be the catalyst that brought the two together.

CBA Executive Director Curtis Riskey, Chairman-elect George Thomsen and the rest of the CBA team were constantly present on the floor, listening, sharing and being a part of all that was going on. I believe God has put each of these men in his particular role for such a time as this. The Church Bookstore Network is excited to be a part of whatever God has in store for Christian retail in the coming months and years.

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