Munce Family News

Updates From the Munce Group and Advisory Board


I saw on Facebook this morning that Elise had her baby, Shepherd Aaron, on May 1st! He is adorable!

Ron and Karen Grosse

Ron and Karen recently returned from their trip to Costa Rica. They stayed in a jungle bungalow where they were able to experience a lot of the wildlife. You can see a few pictures from their trip below. It sounds like they had a great time!

Sales were up approximately 12% in both stores for the month of March. Let's all hope this is the start of a new trend. April also looks to be a good month as they are in the midst of their busy First Communion season. This year's selling season is longer than last year so Karen believes it will cover all of April.

I think Karen echoes all of us when she says how much she appreciates our distributors and all of their hard work to get our products to us in a timely manor. She has noticed that they are doing a better job of keeping products in stock which, in turn, helps us keep products in stock.

They were able to visit with the representative of OM Ships at CPE Hershey and signed up for their closeout book program. They receive 200 books for $2.50 each per month. The books are already stickered at $5.97. Karen says they sold about 62 books in the first two weeks they had the display out. Has anyone else signed up for this program?

Karen also recommends looking at International Greetings as they are starting to target the Christian market. Their boxed cards wholesale for $1.35 per 12 count box, $1.88 for 24 count, and $3 for 48 count boxes. She uses the 48 count boxes to stock a $0.99 card rack which comes out to a wholesale of around 7 cents per card.

Prayer Requests:

Please pray that a potential new tenant in their mall is able to sign a lease soon. It is a food market which would be great for their community as Ashwaubenon does not have a grocery store.

Also, pray that the completion and opening of the Titletown District near Lambeau Field is a blessing and benefit for Ron and Karen. This new area is predicted to bring a lot of people to the area and since their store is on the same road as the stadium they hope to benefit as well.

Mike and Deb Woodard

For Bethany Book & Gift sales were up about 5% for March but April took a dip of about that much. They participated in Kids' Day featuring everything in their children's department at 20% off. Deb and Mike are looking forward to their next event when they will host four local authors. Author events have good traffic for them because the authors invite their friends and family. Each author is given a personalized pen from the store's laser department to make them feel extra special.

Deb and Mike are in the process of closing out their Dayspring everyday cards (buy 2, get 1 free) so they can bring in the Legacy card line in May. Their It Takes Two and Gina B cards also do well for them and are well received by customers.

Other product that are Deb's favorites include Fire-Buggz fishing poles and marshmallow sticks, a line of shawl/wrap/shrug type apparel that their customers love, and some new jewelry pieces.

Mike and Deb are still training employees to assume new responsibilities with plans to leave mid-May on their 6 week RV adventure.

Donna Baker

It was great to hear from Donna for this month's newsletter! She is loving the spring weather in Washington, tending her gardens and enjoying her flowers.

March sales were up approximately 20% over last year due to the early Easter. Unfortunately, April has been way, way down. Donna figures you have to look at March and April together to get an accurate comparison year to year. She is hoping the Spring catalog will breathe some life into the month.

Donna has had success with the "barky" signs from P. Graham Dunn. They are popular with her customers.

Prayer Requests:

Minimum wage has increased to $10.35/hour in Washington with planned increases for the next two years. This has caused Donna to work with fewer employees. Please pray for her as she makes the necessary adjustments and deals with a smaller workforce.

Bill Sharp and Kim Burns

Kim reports they may need canoes to get to the store if the rain keeps it up in their area! A lot of rain all at once coupled with their drought conditions has caused a lot of flooding in Bastrop.

Easter was up at Living Room Books & Gifts but it didn't seem any busier to Kim. Higher point of sale may have attributed to this. Kim planned an awesome event for Kids' Day including an appearance by the Chick-fil-a cow! Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate and they had poor attendance. They tried to move the outside events mostly inside the store. Those who attended said they enjoyed it. They ended up having a pretty good day in spite of the weather.

After returning home from Hershey, Kim started interviewing to replace someone who had been with them for four years. The last week of February, they welcomed Shelly to the Living Room family. She has been an enormous blessing since joining their staff. Shelly likes to merchandise, rearrange things, and clean so Kim put her in charge of those areas. She has brought a freshness to their gift displays and does a great job making "needy" customers feel loved and welcomed.

The adult coloring craze is still going strong in their area and journaling/coloring bibles are starting to take off. Kim is amazed that people are amazed that they carry a bible like the NLT Inspire. They "just didn't think to check with us because they saw it on Amazon".

They are hosting a ladies night on April 29th which grew from a book signing to a moms' get together to a ladies night event.

Kelly Harding

Spring is a very busy time on campus and in the bookstore here. We have several on campus events that increase foot traffic in the store. March was slightly down for me. For my store this can be contributed to our Missouri Christian Convention moving to the first weekend in April instead of the last weekend of March because of Easter. For this same reason, April is way up over last year. I agree with Donna about looking at March and April together to get an accurate picture.

We participated in Kids' Day this year with a coloring contest, giveaways, and featuring our children's department at 25% off. Unfortunately, the weather was very cold with light snow so our outdoor activities had to be canceled. We had a small turnout but everyone seemed to enjoy it. Maybe our weather will cooperate next year but, knowing Missouri, I would say the odds are against us.

In March, our college had their annual Men's Banquet which brings a lot of foot traffic into the bookstore. We stay open up until the banquet starts and reopen for a little while afterwards. Every year the bookstore provides a discount coupon and free gift for attendees.

Adult coloring products and journaling supplies are really strong sellers for us at the moment. We have also seen a rush on wall art. There is one particular wall in our store that we have to reset almost every week because things are selling like crazy. Of course, graduation is a busy season for us. Several of our church customers buy bibles and imprinting for their graduates plus being located on a college campus we sell a ton of graduation cards and small gifts.

I offered to split the cost of attending ICRS with the school and it was approved. I haven't been able to attend since it was in St. Louis last. I am looking forward to being there! Is anyone else planning to go?

Prayer Requests:

Please pray for our staffing issues. Both student workers graduate and the one who said she would stay through summer has changed her mind. I did hire a girl today that is graduating from high school next month. I also have one student worker hired for fall but he is having trouble finding housing for the summer and won't be able to work until August. I have two more potential employees to interview. This summer we are transitioning textbooks from mainly sales to mostly rental. This will require a lot of data entry, unpacking and repacking boxes, and other tedious tasks. I need a strong staff for the summer this year!

Scott Gabrielson

Scott would like us to discuss a possible book exchange. A system where a store could exchange books that they cannot move with another store. What are your thoughts?