|Denominational store opens mall location|
|Written by Ginny McCabe|
|Wednesday, 05 November 2014 09:22 AM America/New_York|
Success with kiosk leads to larger shop to broaden community reach
Denominational bookstore White Wing has expanded its presence to a Cleveland, Tennessee, mall. The move came about after first proving its success with a mall kiosk rather than opening a full store right away.
White Wing held a grand opening Aug. 16 for its new Bradley Square Mall store, which measures about 700 square feet. The store drew traffic with free food and a radio station remote event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We stayed packed all day long,” said Rachel Cartwright, bookstore manager of the White Wing Christian Bookstore and White Wing mall store.
Gene Browning, director of White Wing Publishing House and retail operations, said the Church of God of Prophecy’s 5,000-square-foot headquarters store has been serving Cleveland since 1968.
“A lot more people from the community were coming in,” Browning said. “But we felt like, because we were at the denominational headquarters, that there were some people that still didn’t feel comfortable coming into our store.
“That’s one of the main reasons we wanted to move into the mall. We felt like we could reach out to the community much better than we could at the headquarters location. We are also able to reach out to our Church of God of Prophecy members who are shopping in the mall. It’s more of a convenience for them.”
The mall store also draws Lee University students and other young people.
“By going into the mall, we’ve exposed ourselves, our witness and these Christian resources to people who don’t normally shop at a Christian bookstore,” Browning said.
The mall store is selling more titles from popular authors and top-10 books than the headquarters store does.
The mall kiosk operated for just under two years but was closed once the permanent mall location opened. Sales success has followed.
“Compared to the kiosk, our new mall store is more than doubling sales each month,” he said. “I think that will continue to grow.”
Gifts are the top-ranking sales category, followed by books and Bibles. Top-selling items include Kerusso T-shirts, books, Bibles, gifts and jewelry. Cards are also selling more with a more expansive DaySpring display.
The store also has a new P. Graham Dunn laser engraver and a wide variety of products to personalize.
“We gave away silicone wristbands that we personalized for free that [grand opening] day,” Cartwright said.