Christian Retailing

Sue Smith elected as next CBA chairman Print Email
Written by Eric Tiansay   
Monday, 01 October 2012 12:00 AM America/New_York

Sue Smith, store manager of Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Mich., has been elected as the next CBA board chairman. Smith, a CBA board member for the past three years, will assume the key role at the retailers' organization Oct. 1, 2013, when current ly Chairman George Thomsen's term ends.

In an editorial in the October issue of the trade association's Retailers + Resources magazine, Thomsen wrote that Smith is "a wonderful Christian woman and an outstanding retailer from a long-standing, traditional retail establishment."

"Since 1998, I've made a trip to Grand Rapids every May and have visited Sue's store," said Thomsen, general manager of Harvest Bookstore in Riverside, Calif. "It's a great store, currently in the process of being made even better via a major renovation. Sue is a manager who can be found working in the store and isn't afraid to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty.

"She's been an involved and valuable member of CBA's board," he added. "She's demonstrated a keen awareness of the issues facing our industry, and has a heartfelt concern for CBA member retailers. Sue is well known and respected among retailers, suppliers, authors and CBA staff alike. It's my firm belief that Sue will be an outstanding chairman in leading CBA into the future."

Smith, 50, who has served Baker store manager since May 2005, told Christian Retailing that she wants “to listen to stores.”

“My goal is to call and visit stores when I can to let them know that CBA is here and cares about them,” she said. “I want to connect with them, pray with them, and listen to where they need help and how we as an association can make a difference.

“The main goal of the chairman is to manage the board and to maintain the integrity of the board’s process,” Smith added. “George has done this well as he has led the ship through turbulent waters. We are healthier now as an association and an industry. ... I am honored to be working with him and certainly will have a hard time filling his shoes as he exits this position next year.”

Thomsen has served as CBA chairman since October 2009—the first year as chairman-elect, completing the unexpired term of Jim Whitaker, and the last three years in his own term.

Since he was appointed to the board in 2008, Thomsen has seen the departure of longtime President and CEO Bill Anderson, the sale of the organization's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the adoption of a new management model with Curtis Riskey appointed as executive director.

"CBA has also eliminated all its debt and is now debt free," Thomsen wrote. "We've continued to modify ICRS (International Christian Retail Show (ICRS) to better understand the changing needs of our industry. CBA has created and continues to develop our winter Next conference to help equip retailers to meet the needs of today and tomorrow's marketplace. Through all of these events, the Lord has been faithful and granted us with great favor as we've sought His will and counsel."