Christian Retailing

HarperCollins Christian expands backlist focus Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Monday, 01 June 2015 01:49 PM America/New_York

StephanieNewtonHarperCollins Christian Publishing has announced an expanded focus on its backlist titles. In a continued effort to highlight authors’ past works and bring attention to the relevancy these key titles have in the marketplace, veteran publicist Stephanie Newton will lead the initiative as marketing director of backlist.

Newton has been with the company for the past nine years, previously serving as the publicity director for W Publishing, a Thomas Nelson imprint. During her tenure, she led multiple publicity campaigns for award-winning titles and New York Times best-sellers, including Todd Burpo's Heaven Is for Real; Ron Hall and Denver Moore's Same Kind of Different As Me; and Billy Graham’s Nearing Home and The Reason for My Hope.

Pure Flix welcomes two new vice presidents Print Email
Written by Jeremy Burns   
Wednesday, 27 May 2015 05:20 PM America/New_York

Pure-Flix-LogoPure Flix Entertainment has announced the addition of two new team members. Steve Okin joins the Pure Flix team as vice president of home entertainment distribution, and Franklin Santagate has been named vice president of outreach. 

Okin will be responsible for maximizing the distribution of Pure Flix properties into major retail outlets such as Best Buy, Walmart and Costco. He will also advance digital programming in association with

Precious Moments welcomes Steve Kosmalski to organization Print Email
Written by Pat Shaw   
Monday, 27 April 2015 12:00 PM America/New_York

Steve-Kosmalski-photoAccomplished consumer products CEO Steve Kosmalski has joined the Precious Moments Family of Companies as its new CEO, effective immediately. Kosmalski brings nearly 40 years’ experience to the giftware company founded by artist Samuel J. Butcher.

Owned and operated by the Butcher family, PMFOC welcomes Kosmalski into the fold, looking to his prior success with Stein World, Crescent and Blyth Corporation to move the company ahead.

“Steve brings a great mix of leadership, experience and humor, which we all expect will generate the forward momentum the company needs to re-align our mission and revitalize our team,” says Don Butcher, co-owner, to whom Kosmalski will report. “We look forward to Steve’s contributions paralleling our own efforts to continue to Share the Gift of Love.”

Precious Moments, Inc. the creative and licensing division of PMFOC, has announced the promotion of Sara Pilafas to president. Pilafas continues to lead the creative and licensing efforts of Precious Moments with a reinvigorated approach to the brand.

“Sara’s demonstration of creative leadership and strategic vision makes her more than capable and focused on our mission,” Butcher says.

The Parable Group promotes Regusci to store advocate Print Email
Written by Sally Ross   
Thursday, 23 April 2015 01:36 PM America/New_York

RegusciThe Parable Group has announced the promotion of Kristel Regusci to store advocate. Regusci has a four-year background in retail sales/management and 16 years of experience in education, training and advocacy work.

Before her career in the Christian retail industry, she worked as a WorkTraits facilitator and staff educator at a leading food safety company. She’s also served as an academic coach, staff trainer and special education advocate for varied companies and businesses.

Regusci has served on the Business Intelligence team since she joined The Parable Group in May of 2014 and has since demonstrated a heart for Christian retailers. In one year, she has championed post-sale credit processing by acting as liaison between stores and vendors—garnering over $138,500 for retailers.

Additionally, Regusci has also educated and empowered retailers to leverage their data to target customers, drive store visits, grow sales and maximize ROI. Retail participation in The Parable Group data services, available to all Christian retail stores regardless of marketing group affiliation, has increased by 41 percent in the last 12 months.

“God has gifted us with a team of incredibly talented individuals and I am very pleased to further utilize Kristel’s strengths and experience to serve stores—something she loves to do. We are so thankful for gifted employees who share our enthusiasm for serving retailers and their customers,” says Steve Potratz, president of The Parable Group.

In her new role as store advocate, Regusci will serve on the merchandising and marketing team under Jeff Bruenning. She’ll help retailers create customized marketing investment strategies that suit their store, customers and budget—to increase traffic, sales and generate the greatest return on investment. She’ll educate retailers on new programs and services and will be instrumental in developing new retailer relationships and strengthening existing ones.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as store advocate and help passionate Christian retailers serve their communities every day,” Regusci said. “I have gained the utmost respect for the leadership and mission of our team and I look forward to contributing to the expanding landscape of the partner stores we serve.”

Howard Books promotes Smith to vice president Print Email
Written by Christian Retailing   
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 04:01 PM America/New_York

Smith-McDonaldHoward Books has announced that Jennifer Smith has been promoted to vice president, director of publicity.

Smith came to Howard Books in October 2010, from the company’s New York offices, where she oversaw publicity for Simon & Schuster Audio. Prior to that, she was the director of publicity and marketing for one of Simon & Schuster’s distribution clients.

Before her career in publishing, she spent several years as a news director and producer for national television and radio networks and is a guest lecturer at various colleges and universities, specifically talking about publicity, book publishing and the climate of our marketplace.

Since joining the Howard team, Smith has been an integral part of our growing success and has helped cement Howard Books’ reputation in the marketplace as the foremost publisher of Inspirational/Christian books.

She has been diligent in assuring our books and authors get the attention they deserve across mainstream and Christian media platforms, and has helped our imprint launch more than 30 titles to the New York Times best-seller list, including: EntreLeadership, An Invisible Thread, Kisses from Katie, Illusion, Waking up in Heaven, Angels Walking, Emotions, Where a Man Stands, The Traitor's Wife, Rise of Isis and many more.

In 2013 she led campaigns for some of the company’s most successful titles, including No. 1 NYT best-sellers Happy, Happy, Happy  and Sicology 1. In addition, she has fostered relationships with and spearheaded campaigns for many best-selling authors, including A&E’s Duck Dynasty Family, TLC’s Duggar family, the stars of TLC’s The Little Couple, Wm. Paul Young, Tim Conway, Karen Kingsbury, Charles Stanley, Darryl Strawberry, Jay Sekulow and many others. 

Smith’s ability to navigate media relationships as well as lead her team has proven instrumental in helping to grow the Howard Books division to what it is today.

Harvest House Publishers promotes key personnel Print Email
Written by Christianne Debysingh   
Monday, 30 March 2015 03:11 PM America/New_York

HarvestHouseNew-webHarvest House Publishers has announced the promotion of two key managers for the purpose of better utilizing their strengths and creating greater efficiency and productivity within the company.

The first of these changes is the promotion of Don Sage, former manager of financial operations, to senior director of financial operations. In his expanded role, Sage will handle additional corporate-level responsibilities including overseeing the newly renamed Implementation Solutions department. Previously organized as two separate departments—Order Fulfillment and Information Technology—this new name and management structure will properly align these company disciplines with their financial foundation.

Along with this realignment, Stephanie Osborne, former director of information technology and order fulfillment, is being promoted to director/implementation solutions and will report to Sage. Osborne’s increased responsibilities will include the oversight of the Distribution department along with the continued administration of Implementation Solutions.

As these two departments already work so closely together, given the functions of order entry, customer service, and distribution, this team realignment will now provide greater synergies and efficiencies within the company.

“God has gifted Harvest House with incredibly talented individuals in Don Sage and Stephanie Osborne, and I am very pleased to further utilize both of their strengths in exciting new ways,” says Harvest House President Bob Hawkins Jr. “With this realignment, Harvest House will be better positioned to achieve our short and long-range goals and initiatives as we seek to blaze new trails in the years to come.”

Michelle Wright joins Parable Group team Print Email
Written by Sally Ross   
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 10:00 AM America/New_York

Parable-Michelle-WrightSan Luis Obispo-based marketing agency The Parable Group has announced that Michelle Wright has been hired as a digital marketing specialist. Wright has a 20-year background in sales and marketing with specialties in project management, publicity, social media and promotions with a strong entertainment focus.

Wright joins The Parable Group most recently from Hughes PR, where she served as marketing/PR specialist for the Cantinas Foundation. Wright also brings industry knowledge from previous roles with Rogers & Cowan, Provident Distribution, Renovation (non-profit) and Reunion Records.

During her years at Provident Distribution, Wright managed retail campaigns for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment faith and family films including The Bible miniseries—the highest grossing, non-theatrical video sale to date through the Christian retail channel and the No. 1 miniseries of all time across Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.

“I’m excited about the future of our digital marketing solutions and the new technologies, opportunities and relationships that transpire daily. Michelle’s extensive experience complements our distinctive approach to implementing accountable marketing solutions, providing an important opportunity to meet and exceed our clients’ diverse needs,” says Steve Potratz, president of The Parable Group. “We are delighted to welcome this talented new member to our digital team.”

In her new role, Wright will serve on the digital marketing team under Laura Clark and champion online display, video, mobile, social media and email campaigns for a variety of Christian organizations and ministries. The Parable Group enjoyed marked growth in their digital marketing services and is forecasting tremendous continued growth for that channel in 2015.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join The Parable Group marketing team,” Wright said. “After interfacing with the company in several different capacities over the years, I have gained the utmost respect for the leadership and mission of the team. I look forward to contributing to the expanding landscape of marketing faith-based entertainment products.”

David C Cook appoints interim executive publisher Print Email
Written by Lisa Beech   
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 01:00 PM America/New_York

Verne-KenneyDavid C Cook has announced that Verne Kenney has been hired as its executive publisher. Kenney will assume the responsibilities that Dan Rich held as head of David C Cook Trade Books and Media until a long-term chief publishing officer is hired.

“Dan and his team have built a solid and sustainable Trade Book and Media unit over the last nine years,” said Chief Executive Officer Cris Doornbos. “With Dan’s pending retirement at the end of May 2015, along with the dramatic changes and challenges in Christian publishing overall, I see this as a window of opportunity to intentionally re-visit our publishing strategy and develop a long-term strategic model. Once we determine the best ‘go forward strategy,’ we will resume our search for a new chief publishing officer.”

Kenney is a trusted and respected colleague within the Christian publishing industry. While at Zondervan, Kenney led the team that collaborated with Randy Frazee and Max Lucado’s “The Story” campaign, which has been adopted by thousands of churches worldwide. Concurrently with his role as executive vice president of sales for Zondervan, Kenney also was appointed trade book publisher and head of marketing, leading those teams on an interim basis. In addition, he ran the Spanish Vida publishing business, turning it profitable and increasing its reach significantly in subsequent years. 

“I’m so pleased to be joining the David C Cook team,” Kenney said. “It’s great to be with a company driven by a mission to serve the local church in a global way. Cook is uniquely positioned as a global leader in serving the church with engaging, biblically-based content and I look forward to working with them to advance their mission.”

In this unique role that reports directly to Doornbos, Kenney will develop and document a proposed ‘Go Forward Strategic Plan’ with the Trade Books and Media team. Additionally, he will be responsible for co-creating a future focused set of new activities, processes and business models for Trade Books.

“For over 20 years I have enjoyed knowing and working together with Verne,” Doornbos said. “He has the experience and the objective assertiveness I’m looking for, with a history of successful strategic planning and a way of thinking ‘outside the book’ that I truly respect.”

Kenney will oversee all day-to-day operations of the Trade Book and Media unit beginning March 23, from acquisition and development of new book projects, to developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies. Kenney’s expertise has proven that he is successful at creating the strategies necessary to deliver impactful books to the market place.