Christian Retailing

Free store registrations for The Gathering Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 10:25 AM America/New_York

Places to be given away through online Virtual Christmas Showcase

Gathering-2010_logoStores are being given the opportunity to qualify for free registration for The Gathering 2010, Christian Retailing magazine's annual conference and trade show for church and other Christian retail stores, to be held April 21-23 next year in Louisville, Ky.

The free places at the event to be hosted by Southeast Christian Church are being offered to stores that participate in the Virtual Christmas Showcase, the publication's latest online initiative.

Featuring details of suppliers' holiday season promotions, with some special offers, the virtual presentation will run Sept. 30-Nov. 16 at the magazine Web site,

It follows a "very positive" response to the Virtual Christian Retailing Show that ran July 20-Aug. 31, featuring 25 exhibitors who presented new products and some special offers to buyers. The initiative attracted more than 3,400 visits—including 2,000 visitors—from 61 countries in the first month.

"While we knew this was an idea that stores would love, the response has far exceeded my expectations," said Christian Retailing Publisher Dave Condiff. The virtual event also included new release spotlight interviews with artists and Webinar training for stores.

Kerusso Vice President of Marketing Chris Rainey said the company received "great feedback" from the Webinar.

"We love being a part of something that is new and fresh for our industry," he added. "The ability to interact with retailers through this channel is exciting and we're looking forward to even more involvement with it."

Carpentree Marketing Manager Sherry Morris called the virtual tour a "great out-of-the-box idea," which has increased Web traffic, phone calls and interest in the company's specials.

The free registrations for The Gathering 2010 will go to stores that place qualifying orders during the Virtual Christmas Showcase.

Up to 90 exhibitors are expected to be part of the live event at Southeast Christian Church, whose The Living Word bookstore won the Christian Retailing and The Church Bookstore Large Bookstore of the Year award for 2009.

The Gathering will also include training sessions, teaching, prayer for the industry and fellowship. Previously held in Texas and Florida, the event has been moved back from January to after Easter to avoid busier periods and make it easier for stores to send representatives, Condiff said.

"The fact that it will be located in the center of the U.S. should also make it easier for more stores to drive in for the event," he added.