CTA was founded by Steve and Diane Darr through both a dream and what first appeared to be a nightmare. Diane and Steve had often dreamed of starting a small business, as they had a heart to encourage volunteers and ministers in their work for the Lord. In the fall of 1990, Diane quit her part-time teaching position to start CTA and begin that dream. Then the nightmare came. Steve lost his job right before Thanksgiving of that same year. They quickly went from earning two incomes to no income. But God had a great plan.
They worked very hard and full time in the business all of 1991. However, the year ended with a substantial loss. They prayed for God to give them guidance. In late spring of 1992, they decided to try a small test-mailing featuring their best-selling item (a lapel pin that had an apple and cross on it to encourage teachers), and they asked God to give them an answer through this mailing. If this mailing didn’t work, they were ready to return to the job market. Their prayers were answered with a terrific response to that mailing.
The first CTA office was a transformed bedroom in the Darrs’ home. The CTA warehouse consisted of their basement. Steve and Diane listened to their customers, added new purposeful products for church and school (priced for their budgets), and soon it was time to move the business into a “real” office space. It was amazing to see the blessings that God showered on the business!
CTA has taken many turns and sustained much growth over the years. Steve and Diane always kept the company focused on the mission of CTA: To glorify God by providing purposeful products that lift up and encourage the body of Christ.
In December of 2009, Steve and Diane graciously sold CTA to its employees. This kept the business in the CTA family as Steve and Diane retire. We, the management team and employees, are committed to continuing the good work the Darrs began years ago. The vision behind our work is to see Christians highly effective in their ministries so that Christ’s kingdom is strengthened and expanded. We praise our Lord and Savior and give Him all the glory for the work at CTA. We pray that as we continue to partner with our customers, we will bless them with products and resources to equip them for their ministries as we all share the Gospel of Jesus and God’s forgiving love with our world—His Message.