Curtis Riskey,
President, CBA

Christian store retailers are missionaries in their communities, but without furlough!

Running a business ministry is demanding work that requires dedication and sacrifice to deliver resources and provide a place that attracts both the churched and the unchurched. However—like missionaries—“home assignment” is not vacation. Time away from the field is spent more at work than rest.

When missionaries come in from the field, they are not on vacation or resting, as the term furlough might imply. Today they extend their work by speaking, fundraising, reporting to supporters, and learning. They usually stay connected to their field assignment while home, and they work to support their calling both at home and abroad.

Christian retailers are doing the same thing with their time away from the store. We’ve been meeting with retailers about these challenges and hearing how to make CBA’s international convention more efficient and affordable to maximize time away from the store. The results are the many changes you’ll see this year at UNITE 2017.

Changes include controlling exhibit booth size to make seeing new products and buying easier, quicker, and more efficient.

We’ve added “Showcase Suites,” an extension of the exhibit floor that provides flexible hours to maximize meeting and buying time. We also increased overall floor time to add more hours to a day so you can get things done quickly and reduce time away from the store. Additionally, the exhibit floor won’t close during the day to ensure maximum time for presenting, talking, and buying. Plus, we added a hosted after-hours buyer dinner to encourage informal interaction and connection between buyers and sellers.

The new Christian Product Trends “Rep-Arounds” offer quick exhibitor presentations so buyers preview many new lines and products in a short time, plus enjoy free product and hosted hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.

Exhibitors are supporting UNITE 2017 because we all want a healthy, vibrant Christian retail network that is an alternative to Amazon and ensures Christian thought and ideas are widely available.

We hope you also find at UNITE 2017 spiritual refreshment, inspiration, and a vision for innovation that drives mission-driven creativity in uncertain times. We together are envisioning a legacy for a future that includes Christian stores as essential components of outreach, faith building, and equipping the saints.

As a former retailer, I understand the mandate for efficiency and productivity in everything we do. I recognize what it takes to leave the store and spend time away. However, I also recognize the need for furlough to bring new perspectives that recharge your work and creativity so you can be better missionaries in your communities.

I respect the time and resource investment retailers will make to attend UNITE 2017 this summer in Cincinnati. I encourage you to complete that investment and come be part of a growing unified body of missionaries serving local communities and raising the standard of Christ.

Curtis Riskey, President, CBA

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