February 1-15, 2005 Edition

Parable Group

Set to Develop

Franchised Stores

San Luis Obispo, CA/01/21/05—The Parable Group, a marketing consortium for 230 independently-owned member stores, will now begin to package its marketing and operations concepts as franchised Parable Christian Stores.

Members of the group, which have combined annual sales of $250 million, can remain independent or opt into the franchise, which includes administrative, advertising, and marketing training. Participating stores can also choose to rename their stores under the Parable moniker or combine an existing name with Parable.

Not all stores in the group are happy about the franchise program. A half-dozen stores have switched to competitor Munce Marketing Group to avoid the franchise move. Munch has more than 500 stores in the Christian marketing consortium, and plans to add another 200 or 300 stores to the group within the next several years .

Parable plans to install kiosks in churches and to ultimately have a total of about 1500 franchised stores and kiosks across the nation, according to Parable founder and CEO Steve Potratz, who started the group in 1985.

The Parable franchise program is designed to help independent Christian stores to develop a strong brand and to compete in a tough retail environment.

Based on publishing industry reports, Parable Christian Stores is one of the largest retail booksellers in the world.