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April 18, 2008

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J Thomas

Dear Curtis et al,

So this is the first time I have been on this blog - what a blessing! My heart-felt greetings to every retail person on this blog.. it's my honor to be here among people who sacrifice their lives just to touch a soul.

I am really an outsider coming to the Christian Retail market - I have been working with Pharmaceutical Companies in NJ for the last 5 years. We are used to extremely competitive markets where "differentiation" is the key. It all comes down to exactly what Curtis has so eloquently put here.

In my personal opinion, I do not see the large retail corporations of the world as our "true" competition because I am strong believer in "Value Proposition". As a newbie, as I am doing my research in New Jersey, I don't think that the Christian Retail stores have displayed their most strongest value proposition -- which is "their vision" to the world. Can you imagine, if we put up an image of real african or indian kid who we are supporting via compassion or some other ministry, right in front of the store saying "every 20 cents of a dollar you spent goes into saving lives"? That instantly makes me want to walk into your store for a cup of gourmet coffee (provided the coffee is good :) every morning and I walk out feeling - "you know what, I am a part of something". There are things we are doing behind the scenes that needs to be "UPFRONT". It's not just Marketing but it is Truth - so we can be very transparent and open about it. Customers always make a "finite" number of the decisions and buying a cup of coffee or a book in our stores should become one of those finite choices for them -- it can only happen if we give them a value proposition to come to our stores. People want to feel connected and I cannot imagine of a stronger Value Proposition for a Christian Local Retail Store that exists solely to touch & change lives.

As I struggle (partners, financing, etc) to follow the vision God gave me about starting a christian store in New Jersey, I am truly thankful for CBA and all they do to help retailers (or should I say dreamers) like you and me.

God Bless,
Ciao,
J Thomas

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