Bye, bye Amer­i­can pie?

China eyes tak­ing big slice out of U.S. ap­ple grow­ers’ sales

The Washington Times Daily - - Front Page - BY TIM DE­VANEY

Chris­tian book stores, fa­mous for their quaint brick-and-mor­tar pres­ence in com­mu­ni­ties across the na­tion, are go­ing dig­i­tal in a big way this hol­i­day sea­son with a new mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tion de­signed to cre­ate an Ama­zon-like ex­pe­ri­ence for the faith-filled shop­per. And the shop­ping it­self will of­fer an added char­i­ta­ble aim.

Fam­ily Chris­tian stores, the na­tion’s largest Chris­tian re­tail chain with 280 store in 36 states, says its “iDis­ci­ple” app re­leased this month al­lows shop­pers to search for Chris­tian books, mu­sic, movies, blogs and pod­casts with­out hav­ing to sift through tons of web­sites. And it soon will of­fer Chris­tian mu­sic and stream fam­ily-friendly movies to your cell­phone or tablet.

“We’ve got blogs, de­vo­tion­als, pod­casts, ser­mons. We’re adding mu­sic in early 2014, we will be adding e-books, and soon to fol­low will be a Net­flix­like com­po­nent for movies and TV shows,”said Mike Ken­drick, CEO of iDis­ci­ple LLC.

What sets iDis­ci­ple apart from other dig­i­tal shop­ping apps is its non­profit sta­tus. Users pay a sub­scrip­tion fee of $4.99 a month that is do­nated en­tirely to other Chris­tian non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tions of the sub­scribers’ choos­ing.

What’s more Amer­i­can than base­ball, hot dogs — and Chi­nese ap­ple pie?

While Mom’s home­made ap­ple pie will grace mil­lions of Thanks­giv­ing dessert trays Thurs­day, it might not be so home­made for much longer, if China has any­thing to say about it.

China is the OPEC of ap­ples, pro­duc­ing roughly half of the world’s crop, and it is us­ing its clout to press for ex­panded ac­cess to the long-re­stricted Amer­i­can mar­ket. But Bei­jing must first con­vince the U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture that its ap­ples are safe to eat and will not bring pes­ti­cides that could de­stroy crops and ap­petites alike.

Once that hap­pens, U.S. grow­ers fear, Chi­nese ap­ples could flood Amer­i­can gro­cery stores and be­come a pop­u­lar in­gre­di­ent in ap­ple pies, boast­ing a sig­nif­i­cant price ad­van­tage over do­mes­ti­cally grown Granny Smiths, Wi­ne­saps and Fu­jis.

But many Amer­i­cans are dis­mayed that a tra­di­tion as pop­u­lar as ap­ple pie could be out­sourced to China.

Peggy Rayner, who lives in north­ern Maine, said she and her hus­band en­joy

It wasn’t ex­actly the dis­as­trous roll­out of Oba­macare, but 10 years ago this week, Wash­ing­ton was con­sumed with another scan­dal, dubbed by one CNN news­caster as “Turkey­gate”: Was that a fake tur­key Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush was pho­tographed with dur­ing his first sur­prise visit with troops in Iraq?

The photo re­sult­ing from the visit was iconic — pos­si­bly his­tory’s most fa­mous pic­ture of a cooked tur­key. It’s cer­tainly the most mis­un­der­stood. De­spite be­ing a real tur­key, meant as a dec­o­ra­tion for the chow line, Mr. Bush’s po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents seized on it, er­ro­neously claim­ing it was plas­tic.

In the years since, the bogus “fake tur­key” story keeps churn­ing, in­clud­ing slip­ping into 2004 New York Times and Bos­ton Globe ar­ti­cles, mak­ing it into talk ra­dio shows in 2005 and pop­ping up in Wash­ing­ton Post and Lon­don Tele­graph sto­ries in 2006. To this day, it still creeps into print in let­ters to the ed­i­tor in news­pa­pers around the coun­try.

“It’s a real theme in so many peo­ple’s minds, it’s al­most got a re­li­gious as­pect to it,” said Tim Blair, a colum­nist at The Daily Tele­graph in Aus­tralia who has tracked the story over the past decade and said it has taken on a life of its own, play­ing on peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of the for­mer pres­i­dent. “If you’re of the anti-Bush faith, it’s a touchs­tone. It’s the book of tur­key.”

The Iraq trip it­self was iconic.

“We al­low our users to help share that rev­enue with char­i­ties of choice. It's a giv­ing app, within iDis­ci­ple, that lets you choose which non­prof­its your sub­scrip­tion money will be given to. A user can search the non­profit out­let in the app, they can even choose from lo­cal non­prof­its and we can add a non­profit in the data base if it isn’t al­ready there,” Mr. Ken­drick said.

Hun­dreds of big-name Chris­tian fran­chises are get­ting in line to share their con­tent on the iDis­ci­ple app, ac­cord­ing to Don Still­man, mar­ket­ing part­ner at Sen­dios Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, one of the mar­ket­ing part­ners with iDis­ci­ple.

“When they found out about this short­cut way to ac­cess mu­sic as a way to pro­mote and mar­ket Chris­tian mu­sic, all the big boys showed up and said where do we sign. Even ‘Duck Dy­nasty’ signed up,” Mr. Still­man said.

The story of the new app, from start to fin­ish, is “as much a busi­ness story as it is a Chris­tian story,” Mr. Still­man said.

It all started when three At­lanta-based busi­ness­men pooled their re­sources to pur­chase the Fam­ily Chris­tian stores chain and turn it into a non­profit. Mr. Ken­drick along with Richard Jack­son, founder and CEO of Jack­son Health­care, and Larry Pow­ell, pres­i­dent of Pow­ell Fam­ily En­ter­prises LLC, came to­gether with a vi­sion to cre­ate a new out­let to raise what Mr. Still­man calls “king­dom-based” prof­its.

“Each of th­ese men have been blessed with pro­fes­sional suc­cess and share a mu­tual call­ing to give back to help those in need. This align­ment of busi­ness acu­men and Chris­tian call­ing led them to the col­lec­tive de­ci­sion to join with us to ac­quire Fam­ily Chris­tian and move it from an or­ga­ni­za­tion that con­trib­utes 10% of its prof­its, to one that con­trib­utes 100% of its prof­its to faith-based char­i­ties and min­istries,” said Cliff Bar­tow, pres­i­dent and CEO of Fam­ily Chris­tian in a state­ment re­leased Nov. 15, 2012. By De­cem­ber, the com­pany had be­come a non­profit and had plans un­der­way for new dona­tion strate­gies.

“Once we started look­ing at the com­pany deeper, it be­came clear that we needed a stronger dig­i­tal strat­egy,” Mr. Ken­drick said. “One of the things we thought about was why not be big­ger and bolder with our vi­sion and set out to cre­ate the iTunes of Chris­tian con­tent. One place where, if you’re a Chris­tian and you want Chris­tian in­spi­ra­tion and con­tent you can go to iDis­ci­ple and it’s there.”

The app was de­vel­oped in just nine months with the help of soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany, Pre­mier Logic. Mr. Ken­drick pre­dicted that Fam­ily Chris­tian Stores could ex­pect to see 250,000 new sub­scribers to the iDis­ci­ple app an­nu­ally and added that a free ver­sion of­fer­ing ba­sic con­tent like a dig­i­tal Bi­ble and weekly ser­mons and pod­casts is also avail­able.

“Our goal within the next three years is to have 1 mil­lion sub­scribers and 20 mil­lion users,” Mr. Ken­drick said.

Mr. Ken­drick told The Wash­ing­ton Times that iDis­ci­ple has two main themes, — dis­ci­ple­ship and gen­eros­ity. And the app of­fers some­thing for ev­ery­one from all walks of life, re­gard­less of what point they are in their spir­i­tual jour­ney.

“The app of­fers cus­tomiza­tion and per­son­al­iza­tion and de­liv­ers con­tent that fits the users per­sonal needs. A 30-year-old mother with tod­dlers would have very dif­fer­ent con­tent on her app than an older busi­ness­man,” Mr. Ken­drick said.

To learn more about iDis­ci­ple and to sign up for a free trial go to iDis­ci­ple.org/wt.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A LEG UP: Pres­i­dent Obama, with daugh­ters Sasha and Malia, car­ries on the tra­di­tion of par­don­ing a tur­key be­fore Thanks­giv­ing. On Wed­nes­day, “Pop­corn” was hon­ored at the White House in a cer­e­mony that in­cluded John Burkel, chair­man of the Na­tional Tur­key Fed­er­a­tion. The next stop for Pop­corn is Mount Ver­non, where he will be on dis­play for Christ­mas visi­tors.

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