CAN member, Dianne Barker, shares CAN member experiences with Munce’s Christian Product Expo:
(Murfreesboro, Tenn.) Independent Christian retailers from across the U.S. attended the Munce Christian Product Expo September 21-23 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Besides providing workshops, training sessions, and heartening messages and music from top artists and authors that ignited worship and vision, the tradeshow allowed retailers to interact with authors, publishing reps, and industry friends as they reviewed new products.
Christian Authors Network presentation by Karen Whiting (CAN treasurer) explained how CAN partners with CPE to support retailers and provide tools to help them engage customers. She traced the long journey to publication of her newest release, The One Year Devotions for Active Boys (with co-author Jesse Florea). Katrina Cassel read from her Promises for God’s Princesses. Dianne Barker related the backstory of her 1986 best-seller, Twice Pardoned, first book for Focus on the Family Publishing. Cec Murphey, author of 138 books, stressed the important role of Christian retailers and suggested strategies to strengthen business in challenging times.
Three retailers won book bundles by CAN authors with a total value of $3,300. Winners were Ellen Meece, owner of Handfuls on Purpose in Marion, Illinois; Deb Woodard, owner of Bethany Book and Gift in Baxter, Minnesota; and Kris Jodon, manager of The Bookstore at Chapelwood in Houston, Texas.
Ellen said, “I never win anything. For Pastor Appreciation Month, I plan to give copies of books I won to local pastors.”
“I was shocked! Thrilled!” Deb said. “The unexpected gift was a tremendous honor and a privilege. It was a blessing and a great boost to us. It will be fun to share some books with others.” She added, “It’s great connecting with CAN authors at CPE. I love hearing from the heart of authors and their behind-the-scene stories.”
CAN honored two retailers celebrating significant anniversaries this year. Dennis and Andrea Lovvorn of New Covenant Christian Bookstore in Shelbyville, Tennessee marked their twentieth year in business. Deb and Mike Woodard’s Bethany Book and Gift has been in business seventy-five years (under their ownership for eight years, and Deb worked at the store for eighteen years prior).
Retailers received gift bags containing bookmarks featuring books by CAN members 2015 releases.
CAN’s Cynthia Ruchti led a training session, “When Your Life’s Work Feels Like the Reason David Wrote the Psalms.”
Five CAN authors participated in the Personality Party signing free copies of their books: Cec Murphey, Stolen; Cynthia Ruchti, As Waters Gone By; Dianne Barker, I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore; Karen Whiting, Nature Girl and The One Year Devotions for Active Boys; Katrina Cassel, Promises for God’s Princesses.
The Munce Group hosts two annual retailer events. Founder Bob Munce said the CPE goal is “to encourage, equip, and engage.”
Kirk Blank, Munce group president, said, “I believe we accomplished that. Retailers were encouraged by authors as well as vendors as they prepared for Christmas. The authors and speakers and music artists provided a great source of encouragement for everyone.” Blank added, “We’re always thrilled when we can bring CAN in for fellowship and leadership as we interact with authors and retailers. CAN has done a fabulous job providing much-needed service and help for retailers throughout the year. Having them at CPE was an added blessing.”