ICRS Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down 2014 Print
Written by Christian Retailing Staff   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 02:34 PM America/New_York

Thumbs up:

  • Convivial atmosphere—friendly retailers, vendors and publishers at the show.
  • Many publishers were eager to meet and work with international companies.
  • Meet the Authors of Our Daily Bread: The well-planned and well-advertised event gathered more than 500 guests.
  • Plenty of high-profile authors to draw lines at book signings.
  • Christian Fiction Trends—Interesting presentation and a nice touch to have authors meet directly with guests for a half-hour.
  • To kids’ gift company Oodles World for introducing “His Armor,” a line of products for tween and teen boys, an underserved demographic. The line debuted titanium sports necklaces, carabiners, sports socks and other fun products.
  • To Dr. Mary Manz Simon for 20 years of educating retailers on the latest trends in children’s products, for always recruiting lots of suppliers to send retailers home with free products and for receiving honors from CBA and Logos Bookstores.
  • To Dusty Wells, senior vice president of national accounts for Word Entertainment, for 32 continuous years at CBA shows—and for still having every one of his name badges!
  • To CBA for hosting several events that went beyond retailing, including a filmmakers summit and a pastors’ gathering in partnership with RBC Ministries that saw great attendance from the surrounding area.
  • To Dr. James Dobson for receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from CBA for his groundbreaking work through Focus on the Family and for his sense of humor as he posed with his life-sized standee on the show floor.
  • To Affirm Films for creating a comfortable screening suite that offered groups of up to 20 retailers screenings of upcoming films, not to mention the fun take-home favors like T-shirts, mini footballs and snacks.
  • To publishers, distributors and film companies for bringing more personalities to the show. It is important for retailers to meet their customers’ heroes, and ICRS 2014 had plenty of “star power.”
  • To Good Works Make a Difference owner Helena Cho for making her CBA debut with wrap bracelets and soy candles that are fashion-forward, priced competitively and displayed on modern fixtures. Even better, the Los Angeles-based Cho donates 25% of her net profits to charity.

Thumbs down:

  • Convention center location—Hall C was far enough away as to be a problem for some show attendees getting there at times.
  • Shuttle service—Shuttle didn’t ever show up at one hotel supposedly on the ICRS route.
  • Unattended workshops—The Selling Christian Rap workshop had no one in attendance--except two reporters. Too early? Too far from the exhibit hall? No interest?
  • Overwrought security: Good security is crucial at a convention, but when security doesn’t let in ticketed attendees to events and replies with gruff “no’s,” perhaps it’s a bit too much.
  • One new product showcase presented the history of Gospel Light. Where was the new product?
  • To a couple of the Christian films that still look, well, pretty cheesy. Just because the door has opened at the box office doesn’t mean that we should subject the public to sub-par plots and production quality.
  • For exhibit floor stages that were stuck in the corners of the exhibit hall. These stages offered everything from valuable workshops to award programs to fashion shows—and would have generated show excitement had they been placed in the middle of the floor.
  • To slightly overzealous CBA workers who scolded children’s character Rippy for standing in the aisle just outside his booth.
  • For poor social media promotion about the show. Correct hashtags and Twitter handles were not promoted adequately.