Office Depot to Serve the Faithful in Deal With ChurchPlaza

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Office Depot will make its entire product line available on a co-branded site with ChurchPlaza, a supplier of products and services to churches, the companies said yesterday.


The deal allows Office Depot, Delray Beach, FL, to sell its office products directly to a vertical market that spends $49 billion on various products and services per year. ChurchPlaza, Sarasota, FL, has endorsements from 36 denominations representing 120,000 churches.


"Office Depot has gained recognition of the very large vertical market of churches," said Thomas McElheny, founder/CEO of ChurchPlaza. "By our focus, we know a great deal about this vertical market, how to gain access to it and how to leverage credibility through the endorsements that we already have."


Office Depot will offer special pricing for a large number of church-specific products that will not be available to the general public, offline or online, McElheny said. Also, Office Depot will provide free delivery to all churches that use the co-branded site, churchplaza.com.


McElheny said ChurchPlaza would try to drive traffic to the site by placing direct links on affiliate denominations' Web sites. The churches also will promote the site via e-mail, he said.


Additionally, ChurchPlaza will conduct a direct e-mail drive of its own, reaching out to about 200,000 churches, 200 national offices and 32,000 church-specific institutions, including colleges and grade schools, McElheny said. The campaign will begin in about 60 days to give ChurchPlaza time to test the functionality of the Web site, he said.


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