CBA’s Unite 2017 in Cincinnati had an intentionally smaller footprint but saved money for the Christian retail association. The exhibitors seemed mostly pleased, although they acknowledged there were fewer retailers who attended. The international booths were also set up in a separate exhibit area, which led to some complaints, but the international business was generally good, according to exhibitors.
Dicksons’ Stephanie Flinn, vice president of product development, brought to their booth gifts appropriate for the season that retailers would be buying now. With a smaller show floor this year, exhibitors reduced their booth space.
Flinn also noted that she had some “great conversations” with internationals, which is a major focus of the show.
Craig Cable of Group Publishing also said his company had “lots of great discussions and meetings” at Unite.
Brian Adkins, founder and CEO of Scripture Candy, had a good order-writing show.
“We were also exposed here to the Empowered Life group that bought 15 stores [from Family Christian Stores]. … That within itself makes the show,” Adkins said.
Sister Antonia Cleverly connected with customers at the booth for Paraclete Press, which hasn’t been at CBA’s show for more than 10 years. The publisher returned this year, she said, because of its selection of titles appropriate to the evangelical market. Paraclete is also strengthening its publishing on the ecumenical side.
“We’re trying to talk with other distributors and also we had some rights appointments, so it’s a good opportunity for us to do some other connections, not just bookstores,” Sr. Antonia said.
“I would say we had moderate expectations, and they were met,” she added.
Designer Mindy Kinnier, who owns gift company Rooted Ink with her two sisters, is exhibiting at Unite for the first time. The young company is new to Christian retail, but has an inventory that should appeal to Christian stores. Rooted Ink focuses on prayer journals, including some for children and youth, and also sells sermon notebooks and Scripture prints.
“We had a few Christian bookstores contact us just through our website, so we thought we’d come and get some exposure here,” said Kinnier, whose parents owned a Christian bookstore in Orange County, California, for 28 years.
Karen Ganovsky, founder and owner of Neckglasses/NeckBlessings, had a positive outlook on Unite 2017 and is looking forward to the convention in Nashville, where it will be for the next two years.
“The response has been fabulous and positively uplifting,” Ganovsky said. “We placed more orders than anticipated and have met so many warm and welcoming people. We are very happy we chose to exhibit at Unite 2017.”
Source: Christian Retailing