|California church store rebrands, builds sales|
|Written by Ginny McCabe|
|Monday, 09 June 2014 03:54 PM America/New_York|
New focus highlights service, marketing and connecting with customers
First Christian Church of Huntington Beach recently relaunched and rebranded its bookstore and coffee shop, which was formerly a combined concept called Main St. Coffee & Books. Now, the California bookstore and café are two separate entities—Crossings Christian Books and Gifts and Red Car Café.
Jon Michell, director of retail and food services, believes that branding the store and café separately gives them their own identities. The rebranding started last fall.
“In the random conversations that we’ve had with guests as they are walking through, they love the change, the fresh idea and the new look,” Michell said.
Michell said the changes are subtle with new graphics and logos as well as fresh paint. A three-quarter wall separates the two spaces, which make up an approximate 1,000-square-foot area.
Crossings stocks a mix of Bibles, study tools, devotionals, fiction and nonfiction titles as well as music and gifts.
When the café and store were one entity, “they had the same hours, and one crew did everything,” Pastor of Communications Matt Walker said. “We had cross-trained baristas that were also working in the bookstore, and we felt like they both needed their own identity to excel with what we are trying to do, so we split the two entities.”
Now, anytime anyone looks up a product, whether online, on social media or by phone, they are dealing with two separate places, he said.
Since the relaunch, there is one part-time bookstore manager who oversees the store along with a dozen volunteers that act as frontliners and handle day-to-day operations. In the café, there are about five paid hourly employees.
The store serves as a central location for staff and volunteers aiming to impact the community.
“People can go anywhere and buy books,” Walker said. “They can go online to websites like Amazon. They can find it at other retailers they like, but we’re offering those connection points for our guests. We are their local bookstore. We offer a level of service and kindness that we feel really goes a long way for what we’re doing at Crossings.”
Walker said that the church as seen a “huge difference” with the rebranding.
“Because we are branding our bookstore as a bookstore and a gift shop, we are gaining higher traffic, people are more intrigued because of the separate branding, and we are finding people are seeking out a bookstore that is an actual facility rather than something that’s online with no connection points,” he said.
The rebranding also allows for more direct promotions for each fan base such as a customer loyalty program in the café or a newsletter with new releases.
“We’re finding with Red Car Café that our coffee and café business is also increasing, due to the fact that people are finding what they want where they want it,” Michell said. “We felt like we were trying to do too much with one staff. By separating the two, we are able give them more individualized attention and the community is definitely responding.”