HarperCollins Christian Gives Independent Christian Retailers A Big Boost

To support the successful health and growth of independent brick-and-mortar retailers in the Christian industry, HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) and The Parable Group have deepened their relationship in recent months giving retailers an added boost.

Randy Ross, Sales and Marketing Specialist for The Parable Group said, “In the aftermath of Family Christian Stores closures, we’re delighted to see several publishers extending additional support and fresh collaborative ideas to help independent Christian retailers thrive. HarperCollins Christian, in particular, is stepping up in unprecedented ways.”

Not only is HarperCollins Christian Publishing supporting nearly 90% of The Parable Group Summer Catalog which celebrates “independents” and shopping local, HCCP also provided postage for stores to mail deeper into their customer list. All participating stores increased their catalog distribution, and 10 stores added the summer promotion due to HCCP’s generosity.

“Summer is typically a slower time for retail, but this summer promotion should reinvigorate sales and traffic with tremendous savings on bestselling Thomas Nelson and Zondervan titles,” said Ross.

Additionally, HarperCollins Christian funded a graduation postcard program to drive church traffic to Christian retail this year. The Parable Group sent over 8,000 postcards to churches and schools on behalf of participating retailers—HCCP covered the printing, postage and bulk buy offer on select grad titles.

“Christian retail is the backbone of our industry,” said Dan VanGorp, Director of Independent Retail for HarperCollins Christian Publishers. “Retailers work hard every day to balance the ministry and business aspects of their stores. We consider it a great privilege to come alongside these retailers, who are committed to growing the Kingdom of God, through the resources that we’re able to provide. We don’t take that relationship for granted.”

To view the digital version of The Parable Group Summer Catalog, click here.

A Complete Solution for Christian Retailers

A Complete Solution For Christian Retailers

Serving Independent Christian Stores for over 30 years

The calling…

If you’re considering opening a Christian retail store, the opportunity that awaits you is a calling. Owning a Christian retail store is a blend of both ministry and business. The work is hard, but extremely gratifying. The measure of success is found in knowing that you have impacted the Kingdom of God as much as seeing your business grow.

The model…

We’re dedicated to serving you in our efforts to expand the Kingdom of God. We have proven leadership in the Christian retail industry for over 30 years and our experienced team is focused on providing you the best technology and tools to continue for the next 30 years and beyond!

We provide customized retail support in the following areas:

  • Store Development
    • Cost-effective approach to the design and build out of your store
    • Interior layout, fixtures and inventory recommendations
  • Full-Service Marketing Solutions
    • Print and email promotions
    • Ecommerce partnerships
    • Data-based marketing to cut costs and optimize sales
    • Data-based inventory support
    • In-store signage and merchandising
  • Operations Support
    • Start-up and continued training in retail best practices
    • One-on-one business coaching

Plus, we pass on marketing and merchandising savings to you by capitalizing on the economies of scale that only large group volume can provide. And, by focusing on the customer, we help you develop an atmosphere that serves as a haven of Christ’s love.

The result…

Small business is the mainstay of the American economy, not to mention the Great American Dream. But for many, making a small business a success can be a challenge. The beauty of tapping into our Christian retail expertise is that you’re going into business for yourself – but not by yourself!  We’re here to help with systems, best practices and techniques that have supported Christian Retailers for over three decades.

What does a Christian retailer look like?The ideal candidate desires to serve God and their community by creating a safe place for people to gather and find resources to grow in their faith. In addition:

  • Previous experience in a retail arena
  • Four-year college education, and/or other business experience
  • Willingness to work hard as the owner/operator of a retail store

Discover how our a la carte services can help you.

Jeff Bruenning - The Parable GroupFor additional information, please contact:
Jeff Bruenning
(800) 366-6031

The Parable Store In Arroyo Grande Is Under New Ownership

As of January 1st, The Parable store in Arroyo Grande, CA is under the ownership of experienced Christian bookstore owners Dave and Heather Wilke. The pair purchased the 2,600 square-foot store from longtime owners Steve and Laurie Potratz, who have operated it since 1981.

“It’s been a tremendous privilege for Laurie and me to serve the people and churches of the Central Coast for the past 36 years. We have built lifetime relationships that have richly blessed us and, most importantly, resourced Christians with products that helped them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ and with others. We are so thankful for this community and the support they have given us. The Wilkes share our passion and vision for serving our community and I can’t think of anyone better to run the store and carry on its legacy,” said Steve.

The Wilkes have 40 years of experience in the Christian bookstore industry. They owned and operated seven Christian bookstores in the Los Angeles area. Dave Wilke has also worked in Christian publishing with roles at Gospel Light and David C. Cook. Heather has already been serving as The Parable’s general manager for the past year and they are both eagerly reentering retail store ownership.

“We are most excited about being a part of God’s plan to have Bibles that bring truth and books that bring hope and comfort and gifts that glorify God to those living on the Central Coast,” Heather said.

The sale is also an opportunity for Steve to transition into focusing more energy on his other business, The Parable Group. This multi-service marketing agency serves a variety of Christian organizations including Christian publishers, retailers, churches, non-profits, film studios and more. The Parable will remain one of his clients along with hundreds of other retail stores across the country.

This is the store’s 48th year in operation. It opened around 1969 as KT’s Bible Bookstore on Chorro St. until Jan Ulman bought it in 1973 and renamed it Jan’s Bible Bookstore. It became The Parable in 1981 when Steve and Laurie purchased it and named it The Parable. Since then, the store has moved from downtown San Luis Obispo to South Higuera. Today, The Parable is located at 921 Rancho Parkway in the Five Cities Center near Trader Joe’s.

12 Days of Christmas Sale Drives Repeat Customer Traffic for Christian Retailers

Christian Retailers who participated in the sixth annual 12 Days of Christmas Sale, developed by The Parable Group, reported that the sale effectively drove repeat customer traffic into their stores. The 12 Days of Christmas Sale, which started on Monday, December 5 and ran through Saturday, December 17, 2016 featured “One bestseller a day for 12 days at a ridiculously low sale price.”

The 12 Days of Christmas daily deals were promoted in consumer catalogs, targeted postcards (Every Door Direct), shared mail (RedPlum), promotional in-store signage, and email marketing by The Parable Group. Bagstuffer artwork and Facebook memes were also made available to retailers.

Over 1200 customers came in two or more times during the 12 Days of Christmas Sale—averaging $23.16 per visit, meaning each customer spent a minimum of $46.32 during the sale. The average daily deal sale price was $9.30.

“We get excited when promotions appeal to and motivate customers—and when retailers are prepared for the traffic,” said Randy Ross, Sales and Marketing Specialist for The Parable Group. “Customers came in and shopped five, six, seven times—and one dedicated customer even shopped 10 times during the 12 days!”

Jesus Calling [Large Print Deluxe Edition], regularly $24.99 on sale for only $7.97, hit the #1 position on the group’s bestsellers list on December 17—selling over 4,300 units. Good Good Father, regularly $16.99 on sale for only $4.97, sold over 3,300 units and hit the #1 position on the group’s bestsellers list on December 8.

Mark Phelps from Evangel Stores in Medford, Oregon stated, “We sold 184 copies of Good Good Father, probably the bestselling title outside of Jesus Calling we’ve ever had for the 12 Days Sale!”

Barry Berglund from Parables in Omaha, Nebraska said, “The 12 Day Sale certainly creates some buzz. Because of Bethlehem, The Power of Being Thankful, and Good Good Father each sold about 300 units, and Magnolia Story sold just under 250 units in our store.” He added, “We appreciate the publishers working with The Parable Group to support this sale.”

Laurie Potratz from The Parable in Arroyo Grande, California stated, “The 12 Days of Christmas Sale continues to be a great event for our store. Customers look forward to it now. We utilized additional advertising to bring in new customers—they were amazed to get such great products at fabulous prices. Some customers came in for the deal only, but ended up shopping around and spending additional time and money in the store. It’s such a blessing to have the vendors work with us on these items that create excitement and satisfaction.”

All 12 Days of Christmas deals were vendor-supported. The Parable Group provides automatic sales reporting to vendors on behalf of retail stores which guarantees post-sale credits, improves cash flow and protects the retailer’s margin all while saving the retailer time.

“Pulling post sale credits can be a pain—especially this time of year with big sales events like the 12 Days Sale. It takes a ton of effort for retailers to look up one product at a time and review how many were sold during a specific date range at a specific price and report that information accurately. There’s no reason that a retailer should have to do all that! We take care of it for them and streamline the process using their data,” said Erik Ernstrom, Manager of Business Intelligence for The Parable Group.

“The 12 Days of Christmas Sale has been a big success for the past six years, and stores are seeing the response exceed their expectations. It’s an effective promotion that provides customers with quality products at tremendous prices while also motivating them to shop multiple times before Christmas to score the next great deal,” said Steve Potratz, President of The Parable Group.

Training – Online Tool to Compare Inventory to Frontlist Titles

Online Tool to Compare Inventory to Frontlist Titles

We’ve heard from many of you that you’ve missed some new releases recently because your reps are coming around less often or not at all. Unfortunately, sales cycles can be missed completely. So, we built a tool to help you identify those new titles in order to quickly get them on your shelves and better serve your customers. It can also help speed up your frontlist buying.

In today’s short training video, we’re going to look at the ParableConnect tool that allows you to compare your inventory file to frontlist titles that are on-hand or on-order in Christian retail stores across the country.

As we’ve developed these types of tools, our goal has been to save you time, help you keep your stock moving and your customers satisfied. We’ll continue to provide short training videos that will show you how to get the most out of the inventory tools on ParableConnect. In the interim, if you have any questions, please contact me. I’d love to walk you through key tools that can help boost your bottom line.

Erik Ernstrom
805.543-2466 ext 525