Christian Retailing

CPE schedules new one-day Atlanta shows Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 10:59 AM America/New_York

Announcement made as Munce Group concluded Nashville event

DannyGokeyTwo new Atlanta shows are being added to Munce Group’s Christian Product Expo (CPE) calendar for 2014. In conjunction with AmericasMart, the country’s largest gift mart located in the heart of Atlanta, Munce will host “CPE at AmericasMart” in January and July. 

The AmericasMart CPE will be different than Munce Expo events in Hershey, Pa., and Murfreesboro, Tenn. Rather than the usual three-day schedule, the Atlanta shows essentially will hold to a one-day schedule, but the night before the January show, a special dinner hosted by Munce and Anchor Distributors will be held for the encouragement of international retailers. The dinner also will feature instruction on how to navigate the sometimes-intimidating three tall buildings that comprise AmericasMart.

“Internationals have been coming to Atlanta, and when CTA [Christian Trade Association International] decided to cease their meeting and just roll it into the summer show, we thought this would be a great opportunity,” Munce Group President Kirk Blank told Christian Retailing.

For all attendees, CPE at AmericasMart will feature a basic tabletop show with book publishers, training sessions and fellowship around meals. Forty vendors have signed up for Atlanta, and so far, 50-75 stores are expected to participate.

 “There are stores that are intentionally going to the Mart because they love the Mart, they want to navigate the Mart, want to buy from the Mart, but don’t come to other shows and miss the opportunity to interact with publishers, so we’re going to bring that missing part,” Blank said.

January’s AmericasMart pulls in more than 55,000 mostly general market retailers, and July sees more than 30,000 retailers. 

 “Today, no one argues the importance of a good gift selection in a Christian retail store,” said Ed Nizynski, vice president of sales for Lighthouse Christian Products Co. “Some Christian stores state they have gone all gifts, creating a destination stop for inspirational gifts for all occasions and milestones in life. Depending on which source you’ve read, Christian stores are now reaching between 30% and 40% of annual sales through gift products. Some even state since creating a destination place for gifts, ‘they’ve seen an increase in book and music sales.”

The AmericasMart announcement was made as Munce wrapped up this year’s CPE Murfreesboro, Sept. 22-24, outside of Nashville. The show drew about 300 retailers with 147 stores represented, taking advantage of Munce’s reimbursement plan.

“The owner is the one that generally comes and they’re making the purchases,” Blank said. “And with our reimbursement incentive plan, it really helps them to be able to come to an event to be encouraged, to be equipped with new training and information and then engage to buy their products for their last-minute Christmas, looking forward to after Christmas and get it all done in two days and really have little out-of-pocket.”

Retailers seemed pleased with the size of the show, as did many vendors.

“We try to keep it from a certain size just from a timing standpoint,” Blank said. “We have limited time on the floor and if we have too many people trying to do too many things all at the same time, it’s just chaos. So we try to keep the same type of numbers, ratio between vendor and store, so we started it open it up to other retailers, and it’s been a blessing. We did that probably two or three years ago, and now the majority obviously are the Munce Group stores that come to this event, but we had stores from Logos and stores from Covenant and stores from Parable and just a lot of affiliations.”

The Episcopal Booksellers Association also brought its retailers for their annual board meeting, membership meeting with elections, worship service and annual dinner to coincide with the Munce event.

Along with training from Tyndale House Publishers on its The Wayfinding Bible and from Bookstore Manager on its software, retailers were treated to live performances from artists including Danny Gokey, Laura Story, Mikeschair, City Harbor and Steven Curtis Chapman; heard from authors Jefferson Bethke, Pete Wilson, Stasi Eldredge, Eric Samuel Timm and Dr. Reggie Anderson along with Christian Authors Network authors; and watched new movies Grace Unplugged and Unstoppable.

CPE events for 2014 are scheduled as follows: Atlanta (Jan. 9), Hershey (Jan. 19-21), Atlanta (July 10) and Murfreesboro (Sept. 21-23). Retailers can learn about Munce’s CPE reimbursement program at