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HPPA Industry News

  • 25 Jul 2023 1:41 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Businessranked the No. 9 distributor in this year’s PPAI 100, has announced that Taylor Borst has been promoted to senior director of marketing and vendor relations.

    In this new role, Borst will be responsible for leading, creating and executing short and long-term strategic direction of the marketing, events, public relations, vendor relations and product support departments.

    "I’m excited and honored to take on this new role and work even closer with our dynamic, talented teams,” Borst says. “My mission has always been to create connectivity and add value for our sales associates, home office, vendor partners and end-user customers. I look forward to learning from our vendor relations team and exploring ways to contribute to our already outstanding efforts.”

    Joining the Glenwood, Minnesota-based distributorship in 2015 as a strategic operations support specialist, Borst has worn many hats during her eight-year tenure.

    • Some of her roles have included strategic operations support specialist, promotional product specialist, and communications and public relations.
    • For the last two and a half years, she’s served as director of marketing, events and public relations.

    “I’m excited to continue to work closely with Taylor,” says Dana Zezzo, vice president of marketing, vendor relations and events at ASB. “She has been instrumental in many of the positive changes of our team, and I have full confidence in her ability to continue to be a leader at ASB.”

    Ranked No. 3 on PPAI’s 2023 #Online18 and a 2019 PPB Rising Star, Borst also serves as the current president of the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Products Professionals (UMAPP).

  • 25 Jul 2023 1:39 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Logomark is now the exclusive supplier of the 58-piece Pelican Hydration collection of tumblers, mugs and water bottles to the promo industry.

    • Crafted of 90 percent recycled 18/8 stainless steel, the colorful, fashion-forward, multi-functional collection features vacuum-sealed technology and leak-resistant lids.
    • The new collection features five inspiring signature styles including the 22-ounce Pelican Traveler Tumbler, the 40-ounce Pelican Porter Mug, the 18-ounce Pelican Ridge Mug, the 26-ounce Pelican Pacific Water Bottle and the 22-ounce Pelican Cascade Grip Tumbler, all available in 25 limited-edition colors.

    “Pelican has always been synonymous with exceptional quality, performance and customer satisfaction,” says Logomark President Clive Goldberg. “Customizability is built into the collection, providing distributors with ample space for showcasing their clients’ logos and branding. Pelican Hydration’s superior quality and on-trend designs enable distributors and their clients to easily incorporate drinkware into their marketing mix.”

    He adds, “We are proud to embark on this journey with Pelican Hydration drinkware and set new standards of excellence in the promotional products industry.”

  • 25 Jul 2023 1:37 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Vantage Apparelranked the No. 17 supplier in this year’s PPAI 100, has announced that Fred Durand and Christopher Alfano have returned to the Avenel, New Jersey-based organization.

    As chief operating officer (COO), Durand heads up all production, sourcing, IT, customer service and digital operations teams. His first tenure with the company lasted from 1999 to 2008, and he held several leadership roles, including director of customer service and vice president of e-commerce.

    • Durand has spent the past 15 years outside of the promotional products industry, acting as vice president of operations at Galanz Americas Limited Company, a home appliances manufacturer, and COO at GAR Products, which specializes in commercial seating.

    “Fred has a strong technology background, experience running large-scale manufacturing operations and a passion for fostering excellence throughout an organization,” says Ira Neaman, MAS, founder and president of Vantage Apparel. “In his first six months, he implemented significant process enhancements to give our service and operations teams more visibility to real-time information, access to technology benefits, and ultimately an overall better order experience.”

    Alfano has returned as chief digital officer (CDO). His first tenure with Vantage Apparel lasted from 2012 to 2020, and he served as director of information technology and then chief technology officer. He’s credited with modernizing the company’s ERP system and spearheading the shift toward more effective and efficient digital processes.

    “I'm incredibly excited to return to Vantage Apparel and contribute to the ongoing digital transformation,” Alfano says. “I aim to use my experience and expertise to enhance our e-commerce capabilities, deepen our partnerships, and support our distributors with more robust and seamless integrations. It's an exciting time for Vantage, and I'm thrilled to be part of it."

    “Chris' experience and innovative leadership will now be channeled into enhancing Vantage's e-commerce platforms, streamlining distributor integrations and cultivating strategic partnerships through their newly established digital sales operations team,” Neaman adds. “The recent hires are in line with Vantage's commitment to bolstering its digital capacities in response to the evolving needs of the industry.”

  • 25 Jul 2023 1:34 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Apparel supplier BELLA+CANVAS has appointed industry veteran Norm Hullinger, CAS, as its new president.

    Hullinger, who had been the Beverly Hills, California’s chief operating officer since April 2021, was previously the CEO at alphabroder for 18 years. He now slides into the role vacated by Chris Blakeslee, who has been appointed president and CEO of retail women’s lifestyle apparel brand Athleta.

    • Blakeslee had been president of BELLA+CANVAS and its sister brand Alo Yoga since 2017.
    • Athleta, a $1.5 billion certified B Corporation, is owned by Gap.

    Hullinger is a former member of the PPAI Board of Directors. In his previous role at alphabroder, he led the firm through several key milestones, including its late 2017 acquisition of supplier Prime Line. Before joining the promotional products industry, he served in executive roles for Fortune 500 retailers and online enterprises.

    In a statement released first to Graphics Pro, BELLA+CANVAS said, “With a remarkable record of accomplishments during his tenure as chief operating officer, we are confident that Hullinger’s leadership will drive our company to new heights and further solidify our position as a leading manufacturer and supplier of premium blank apparel.”

    Both BELLA+CANVAS and Alo Yoga have been on a growth trajectory with Blakeslee in the president role and Hullinger as COO.

    • BELLA+CANVAS unveiled two new distribution centers this spring, in Las Vegas and Maryland, totaling nearly 1.5 million square feet and supported by more than 700 employees and 300 production robots.
    • Alo Yoga, meanwhile, grew to more than $1 billion in sales in 2022, according to the announcement from Gap.

    BELLAS+CANVAS has co-CEOs in co-founders Danny Harris and Marco DeGeorge.

    “As we embark on this exciting new chapter with Hullinger as our president, we are confident that BELLA+CANVAS will continue to innovate, grow, and exceed expectations,” Harris said in the statement. “Hullinger’s leadership and strategic direction will undoubtedly lead toward new achievements and strengthen our position as an industry leader.”

  • 19 Jul 2023 4:01 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    PPAI has announced officers for the Association’s 2024 Board of Directors.

    Chris Anderson has been named vice chair, financial services. Meanwhile, Denise Taschereau, who currently holds that role, will serve as incoming chair. Andrew Spellman, CAS, the Association’s 2023 chair-elect, will assume the role of chair and current Board Chair Kevin Walsh, CAS, will serve as immediate past chair.

    The one-year terms will begin immediately following The PPAI Expo 2024, which will run January 15-18.

    “The future of our Association is brighter than ever with talented and caring volunteer leaders such as Andrew, Denise and Chris,” says Walsh. “Andrew’s industry experience and brand-forward approach are timely as the PPAI team moves forward with the next phase of our strategic plan. Denise has been an excellent vice chair of finance services, whose passion and knowledge in key areas such as sustainability will make for an outstanding incoming board chair. Chris is an incredibly talented leader who brings financial management and investment prowess to the executive committee.”

    “Overall, a fantastic collection of talent,” Walsh continues. “As the current board chair and a veteran of the Association, I’m delighted by these selections and excited for what the future has in store for our members.”

    PPAI Board Officers’ Backgrounds

    A 30-year veteran of the promotional products industry, Spellman is currently vice president of corporate markets at Los Angeles-based supplier Therabody (PPAI 794574, S1).

    • He spent more than 14 years as vice president of sales for Victorinox Swiss Army (PPAI 113873, S8) and was senior vice president and general manager at The Magnet Group (PPAI 338534, S11) before joining Therabody in 2021.

    Taschereau is CEO and cofounder of Fairware (PPAI 262992, D2), a Vancouver-based distributor that specializes in sustainable merchandise.

    • Taschereau spent seven years leading the corporate social responsibility efforts of Canada’s largest outdoor retailer before founding Fairware.
    • She is also a board member of Promocares, a group working to support actionable strategies to encourage social and environmental responsibility in the promotional products industry.

    Anderson is CEO of HPG (PPAI 110772, S11), promo’s No. 8 leading supplier on this year’s PPAI 100.

    • Involved in the industry for more than 20 years, Anderson previously served as CEO of supplier HandStands.
    • Under his leadership, HandStands expanded its distribution into 138 countries and closed multiple strategic acquisitions, including the sale of the business to HPG (then HUB Promotional Group) in 2018. Anderson took the helm of HPG in 2019.

    Current board chair Walsh, president of supplier Showdown Displays (PPAI 254687, S11) in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, has been with the company – ranked No. 14 in this year’s PPAI 100 – for more than 10 years and has held escalating roles with the organization leading to his presidency.

    • His background includes leadership positions with numerous industry suppliers, including New Buffalo Shirt Factory, Lee Printwear, VF Imagewear and Wrangler Jeans and Shirts.

    PPAI board officers are selected by the PPAI Board Officer Nominating Committee and voted on by the PPAI board.

    Written by: John Corrigan

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 19 Jul 2023 10:23 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Orbus Visual Communications expands its display system product options with two new lines: MODify Retail Merchandising System and Blaze SEG Light Box.

    • The MODify Retail Merchandising System is a collection of one-of-a-kind retail displays that incorporates SEG push-fit fabric graphics, enabling organizations to brand, promote and merchandise with ease. This flexible display system allows for easy modification with graphics, accessories and furniture. Kits feature single-sided, double-sided, gondola and four-sided options and accessories include shelves, hooks, hang bars and more. Optional furniture pieces, including risers, nesting tables and counters enhance the overall presentation.
    • The Blaze SEG Light Box collection is a cutting-edge series of fabric light boxes available in wall-mounted, freestanding and hanging variations. Setting itself apart with its sleek six-inch depth frame (four-inch for wall-mounted), the Blaze SEG Light Box effectively eliminates unwanted shadowing while evenly dispersing light.
  • 19 Jul 2023 10:21 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Koozie Group has partnered with GoGo by Shed Rain, a retail brand that includes affordable products backed by 75 years of expertise in the umbrella market.

    • Koozie Group will be the exclusive supplier of GoGo umbrellas in the promo industry. IMAGEN Brands, Koozie Group’s sister company, will continue to be the exclusive promo supplier of the Shed Rain brand.
    • The collection is launching with 12 umbrellas, including compact, stick and inverted models, and all will be made from RPET, with an average of six to eight 16-ounce plastic water bottles used in each umbrella depending on the arc size. Three versions of the VORTEX, which can withstand wind gusts up to 75 mph, will also be offered. The umbrellas carry GoGo’s lifetime guaranty.

    Pierre Montaubin, chief product and sustainability officer at Koozie Group, says, “The GoGo brand shares many of our core values, including offering products with sustainability in mind. Their approach to making the fun moments more comfortable, no matter the weather, aligns with our goal of leaving a lasting, positive impact with the solutions we provide. We’re excited to bring GoGo umbrellas to the promo market.”

  • 19 Jul 2023 10:19 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    BamBams, in Manassas, Virginia, has acquired Sealy, Texas-based supplier Visual Promotions.

    • The Visual Promotions staff will continue their current operations while the BamBams team adds the company’s products and services to their offerings.
    • Industry veteran Louie Massaro becomes BamBams’ general manager, bringing his vast experience in coolers.
    • Jeff Brandes, owner and president of Visual Promotions, will assist with the transition while growing his industry-based software business Schedule Key.

    “The opportunity made sense because of the meaningful synergies, adding significant production capacity and new products to our business,” says Dan Taylor, president and CEO of BamBams.

    Brock Taylor, COO of BamBams, adds, “With Visual Promotions’ Print on Demand [POD] capabilities, which are fully integrated with Schedule Key software, BamBams can accelerate its growth in the POD company store market. After expanding in on-demand products in 2022 with our Bolt Line, this acquisition moves us toward our goal of becoming an industry leader in POD.”

  • 19 Jul 2023 10:16 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Toddy Gear has named Viktorya Kooistra its vice president of marketing. Kooistra first joined the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based supplier in 2013, and brings 20 years of marketing communications, branding and product management experience to the new role.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Viktorya Kooistra as our vice president of marketing," says Jason Emery, president and CEO of Toddy Gear. "Her unparalleled expertise and proven leadership will be instrumental in shaping our marketing vision and strategy. We have full confidence that her insights and innovative approach will drive Toddy Gear's continued success in the ever-evolving promotional products landscape."

    During her time with Toddy Gear, Kooistra’s expertise in marketing communications, creative development, social media, public relations, trade shows, and events has been instrumental in driving brand awareness and boosting sales.

    • She has played a pivotal role in shaping Toddy Gears’ brand positioning and spearheading its marketing initiatives.
    • She has overseen every aspect of the company's marketing operations.
    • Under her guidance, Toddy Gear has achieved growth in lead generation and witnessed substantial engagement across various social media platforms.

    Last month, Toddy Gear went through an ownership change, with Emery and his business partner Isaac Delgado acquiring the remaining shares of the supplier from company founder Todd Gabel. The company was also was recently announced as one of Promo’s Greatest Companies To Work For In 2023 by PPAI.

  • 19 Jul 2023 10:13 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The St Regis Group has announced the appointment of Mark Waisbrod as its new CEO, effective July 19. Richard Firkser, founder of the Markham, Ontario-based supplier, will remain as company president.

    “Mark is a proven leader with the ability to bring people together,” Firkser said in a press release. “His vision, business acumen and wealth of experience is exactly what St Regis needs as we enter the next chapter of expansion, innovation and growth. We’re fortunate to have someone of Mark’s caliber and track record to implement our strategy, take advantage of market opportunities and lead St Regis into the future.”

    Acting as COO at St Regis since 2011, Waisbrod has been part of the executive team overseeing several key acquisitions:

    • the 2016 merger with New York-based supplier K&R New York
    • the 2020 acquisition of The Book Company’s journal division, a Florida-based supplier of published books and journals
    • the 2022 acquisition of fellow Canadian-based supplier Clearmount

    “Under Richard’s leadership, St Regis has grown to be one of the world’s pre-eminent suppliers and manufacturers of prestigious awards, corporate recognition and promotional gifts,” Waisbrod said.

    “I’m honored to be given the mandate to lead this exceptional group. St Regis is where it is today due to the incredible efforts of all St Regis team members. The growth opportunities ahead for St Regis are vast and to seize them, we must move fast, embrace innovation and continue to transform in order to bring our distributor partners the best value, quality products and unmatched service.”

    Founded in 1999 as a small awards company, St Regis has grown to having more than 500 employees in North America with manufacturing and warehousing in Chicago and Markham.

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