A New Association for Christian Retailers

Last week, in “response to changes in the industry,” one of which I addressed in the post “Rumbles in CBA,” a new retail association has been formed.

The Munce Group has long been a strong collection of Christian retailers who used their combined buying power to market and sell more products in their local stores. With the uncertainty of the ICRS (International Christian Retail Show) and the uncertainty of the Christian Booksellers Association, Bob Munce has announced the formation of the CRA (Christian Retail Association).

In addition, they are restructuring and expanding their existing summer convention to include international opportunities. The CPE (Christian Product Expo) has been held for 17 years. This expansion will provide an alternative for publishers and stores and international publishers to come together. Especially if ICRS is no longer a viable option. The first newly named CPE International will be held Sunday to Tuesday, Aug. 25-27, 2019, at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

I attended the CPE in Murfreesboro in 2015. I was invited to talk to the stores about Enclave Publishing. The show was very well run; and the stores were enthusiastic and supportive, with nearly 100 attending the presentation.

There is more information found in this article by Christine Johnson (link here).

This is great news for the industry. There needs to be a place where retailers and publishers can interact on a larger scale. If editors and agents and authors also attend, it could become the place to go each summer. As of now, this is so new we don’t know who will be attending from publishing houses other than sales people.


15 Responses to A New Association for Christian Retailers

  1. Avatar
    Judith Robl October 29, 2018 at 6:40 am #

    Thanks, Steve, for keeping us abreast with industry changes. It’s important for writers and aspiring writers to know about more than just the craft. We need the marketing info as well.

  2. Avatar
    Katie Powner October 29, 2018 at 7:18 am #

    This is good news! I was just thinking the other day about your post on shake ups in CBA. Looking forward to seeing where this leads.

  3. Avatar
    Kay DiBianca October 29, 2018 at 7:47 am #

    I hope authors will be included in the CPE International meeting in 2019. Since we live just down the road in Memphis, it would be a great opportunity for us to attend and learn more about the Christian publishing industry.

    Thanks for this great information.

  4. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson October 29, 2018 at 10:55 am #

    Wow! That’s great news! Thank you for sharing.

  5. Avatar
    Linda Evans Shepherd October 29, 2018 at 1:19 pm #

    Hi Steve and friends, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA) is already attending the Munce Christian Product Expo, with a booksigning booth, and hosting our yearly conference and Golden Scroll Awards there. We will also be there again next August to host our conference and awards show and will attend the NEW International show. My hat is off to Munce. They are a class act and we’ve loved working with them. Linda Evans Shepherd http://www.AWSA.com

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube October 30, 2018 at 9:06 am #

      Thank you Linda!

  6. Avatar
    claire o'sullivan October 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

    This is good news. Thank you for the updates!

  7. Avatar
    Lynn October 29, 2018 at 4:00 pm #

    Do you know if anyone has received their rebate from Unite/CBA?

    • Avatar
      Steve Laube October 30, 2018 at 9:06 am #


      Unfortunately we do not have any more information than what is publicly available. No insider info.

      If any news breaks I’ll try to alert our blog readers to any new developments.

  8. Avatar
    Kathleen Denly October 30, 2018 at 8:51 am #

    Thank you for keeping us updated on what you’re learning about the industry changes.

  9. Avatar
    Tisha Martin October 30, 2018 at 9:55 am #

    When I first heard about all the happenings within CBA from Christian Retailing, I was a bit concerned. Things were changing too fast. But then I thought, Why not? Every era (or decade) changes just a bit, and as long as things are going fairly smoothly and promising new, encouraging things, let’s see where this goes! A lot’s been happening in the Nashville-area, and it’s exciting! What person who loves books wouldn’t want another event about books? The more the merrier—I do hope this one gets off to a great and prosperous start!

    • Avatar
      Lynn October 30, 2018 at 10:13 pm #

      I do think a change has to happen in anything as far as meeting customers needs and spreading the Gospel thru our businesses…..Just sad that we can’t reach them and a bit concerned about it….I pray they are ok and will reach out to the CBA members soon……

  10. Avatar
    Ann Coker October 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm #

    I’d like to hear more about “the uncertainty of the Christian Booksellers Association.” The magazine I worked for years ago was a part of that group.

  11. Avatar
    Eric Grimm November 1, 2018 at 8:37 am #

    I’m a 20-year, former CBA employee who is disappointed and devastated by what recently has happened at CBA. However, I also recognize that as the business world changes, this industry doesn’t need a trade show and convention as much as it needs big shifts in thinking and operations.

    Munce will do a great job on a trade show, but it will take leadership and collaboration to even begin to address the business and digital tsunamis crushing current and future retail business models that will impact book sales.

    Most authors, and even some publishers and retailers, don’t understand how a retail channel’s structure affects book sales and product launches, especially today when buyers start their purchasing journeys online but the majority of the time purchase through brick-and-mortar stores.

    I did respond to Christine Johnson’s Christian Retailing post at https://bit.ly/2PzaoAJ with some observations and a link to my own post on this situation at https://bit.ly/2RuoZL7, my under-construction website.

    The Christian-store network has a lot to offer and has the potential to move forward and grow by embracing the change that is happening in all business sectors. However, more strategic collaboration would maximize the potential and deliver faith-based resources to an under-served constituency.

  12. Avatar
    Kathy Cook February 27, 2019 at 10:32 am #

    We are a design, manufacture and distributor of Fashion Symbols of Faith jewelry and gift items. We were hoping to show our product at the CBA/ICRS show in Nashville this summer.

    Can anyone help me as to if there will be a show for us or if the new organization will have a trade show?

    Thank you

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