New Cokesbury manager makes inside move


By Woody Woodrick
Advocate Editor 

After three-plus years as an outside sales representative for Cokesbury Bookstores, Louise Jackson has moved inside. 

Jackson started duties as manager of Cokesbury’s Ridgeland story in March. However, she said the work is essentially the same. 

“The only difference is being restricted to being inside the building,” Jackson said. “The sales are the same; you meet people and meet their needs.” 

Jackson moved to her new post from Mobile. A Starkville native, Jackson moved to the Alabama port city as a child, grew up and attended college there. 

“It’s been very interesting,” she said of the move. “I’ve met a lot of new people, and they’ve been friendly. The only challenge has been maneuvering the streets of downtown Jackson.“ 

Despite not having previously worked inside the store, Jackson said she’s confident of her capability to operate the store. “The challenge was being able to continue the kind of service and be to the community what Cokesbury has always been. We have very loyal customers here, and they expect us to provide top-notch service.” 

That’s what Jerry Garrett, regional manager for Cokesbury, wants to hear. “We expect our stores to serve our customers and constituency with quality products, serving and meeting the needs of The United Methodist Church in particular and the greater Christian community.” 

With two other Christian bookstores within sight of Cokesbury’s County Line Road location, the competition is tough. Jackson said service makes the difference at her store. 

“I like to think that because of who we are, it is more about service than anything else,” she said. “We make it personal. If you have a problem, we don’t hesitate to come to where you are. I know of no other Christian bookstore that will come where you are. We start at a personal level. We’re really about personal service, not just customer service. We’re not just an automated entity where you call in to get a problem resolved.” 

Jackson said she’s noticed that customers often already have a personal relationship with members of the Cokesbury sales staff. She said she likes that and hopes to build on it. 

Although an entity of The United Methodist Church, Cokesbury wants to reach all Christians, Jackson and Garrett said. 

“I would like to see Cokesbury become the center for resources for people on their Christian journey,” Jackson said. “We want to be a reliable source to find things that help us build the kingdom.” 

Jackson got the chance to meet lots of United Methodists during Annual Conference June 10-13. Cokesbury operated a retail area just off the Mission Fair at Christ United Methodist Church. “As an outside rep, events are what I would do,” she said. “I would travel nationally doing huge events. Last year I did five annual conferences.”