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HPPA Industry News

  • 10 Apr 2024 1:57 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Sign-Zone, the parent company of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota-based supplier Showdown Displays (PPAI 254687, Platinum) – the No. 14 supplier in the inaugural PPAI 100 – announced today that it has acquired AAA Innovations (PPAI 110972, Standard-Plus). The Orangeburg, New York-based supplier offers products such as umbrellas, coolers and outdoor recreational products.

    A source close to the deal says AAA's annual sales are roughly $40 million. The new business is expected to push Showdown's revenues north of $150 million per year. 
    Showdown Displays has a track record of investing in its operations, procedures and the larger promotional products community.

    Earlier this month, Showdown was recognized for its customer service with a 2024 People’s Choice Stevie Award.
    In May 2023, the supplier received a 2023 silver medal from EcoVadis for its achievements in sustainability and overall efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.

    Kevin Walsh, president of Showdown Displays, is currently Immediate Past-Chair of the PPAI Board of Directors, after serving as Board Chair in 2023.

    The two organizations expect to be able to leverage the operational resources and geographical locations of each in order to create new opportunities.

    The acquisition combines what Showdown considers "similar but unique" product lines that will continue to be sold only through authorized reseller partners.

    "Joining the Sign-Zone [the parent company of Showdown Displays] family provides limitless possibilities for our business and team of professionals," says Nanus. "The entire AAA team is excited about the opportunities this acquisition creates, including accelerated growth from additional investment."

    The two organizations will have a combined production and fulfillment space across North America of approximately 400,000 square feet with additional operations in Europe. 

    "AAA Innovations’ unique products and branding solutions have helped them build strong reseller partnerships in the promotional products industry," says John Bruellman, CEO of Sign-Zone. "The company has a deep commitment to delivering a memorable customer experience. We’re extremely excited to bringing additional production capacity, expanded geographic presence and tremendous expertise and talent into our organization."

    Similar But Unique Product Lines
    The two companies will continue to operate on a standalone basis, with AAA Innovations retaining its brand name and customers. 

    Jeff Nanus, owner of AAA Innovations, will remain with the organization as president, a role he served prior to the acquisition.

    Showdown Displays will remain in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. AAA Innovations is currently moving to a new facility located in Orangeburg, New York. 

    Written by: Jonny Auping

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 9 Apr 2024 11:03 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Almost exactly six months after joining Hit Promotional Products (PPAI 113910, Platinum), Jon Norris has been promoted to the role of chief strategy officer. The C-suite position shift will likely provide Norris, an industry veteran with an expertise in technology standards, with a more direct influence over the supplier’s direction going forward.

    • Norris previously held the title of vice president of business process improvement.
    • Hit Promotional Products ranked as the No. 4 supplier in the inaugural PPAI 100.

    Norris’ Promo Pedigree

    Norris may have just a half year under his belt at Hit Promotional Products, but he is a 20-year veteran of the promo industry.

    • Prior to joining Hit, Norris spent more than 19 years at Starline, where he was chief operating officer upon his departure.
    • He’s also a co-founder and current leadership team member of PromoStandards, a group of industry IT professionals who focus on the development of technology standards to enable system-to-system communication in an effort to reduce the cost of business between suppliers and distributors.

    CJ Schmidt, president of Hit Promotional Products, said that bringing Norris to the supplier was “a testament to our commitment to lead, innovate and excel in the promotional products industry.”

    • Norris was named a PPAI Rising Star in 2014.
    • He was named to the #Online 18 in 2020.

    Norris’s track record of volunteerism in the promo industry includes time on PPAI’s Technology Committee, where he was lauded for “his passion for what he does in every respect.” As an Association volunteer, he was recognized for the ideas he brought to the table, his collaborative spirit, results-oriented outlook and being a “great leader and role model for others.”

    Norris has called his colleagues at Hit Promotional Products some of the hardest working members of the industry.

    “[I] couldn't be happier to continue to work hard with my Hit crew and amazing ownership, who continues to invest into what this impressive organization is capable of,” Norris says. “New role, new responsibilities, same great company, amazing customers and ever-changing industry.”

    Changing Scenery At Hit Promotional Products

    The news of Norris’ promotion to chief strategy officer comes only two months after the announcement of Eric Shonebarger stepping down from his role as president, who had been with the company for two decades. Schmidt, the company’s CEO, moved into the role of president.

    • The company’s 2022 revenue exceeded $600 million.
    • From 2019-2022, Hit Promotional Products grew in revenue by 23%.
    • The 2023 PPAI 100 rankings awarded the supplier High Marks in Revenue, Growth, Online Presence, Innovation and Professional Development.

    Norris joining Hit last year was part of a trend of adding senior level talent with industry experience in recent years.

    Written by Jonny Auping

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 6 Apr 2024 9:29 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Fey Promo is excited to welcome TJ Garrett, MAS to our Sales Team!

    TJ joins the team as a Senior Account Executive.  With over 30 years of experience in the promotional product industry, TJ has had the opportunity to work both on the distributor and the supplier side.  TJ has exceled in the industry and has been a recipient of the Bess Cohn Humanitarian Award.

    This industry has always lifted me up.  Every day I discover something exciting and learn something new”, states TJ.  She hopes to bring her diverse experience, knowledge and love of promotional products to her clients.

    TJ is based in her favorite state of Texas where she loves spending family time with her two sons and grandson or watching football.  “Her core values align with Fey Promo”, states Shelley Sake, Director of Strategic Growth.  “TJ is a welcome addition to our team and is a day brightener to her customers with the excitement she brings forth on any project”.

  • 4 Apr 2024 10:55 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    There's a new reminder for promotional products companies to take the threat of cybercrime seriously; attacks can happen to anyone.

    HALO (PPAI 106462, Platinum) – ranked the No. 2 distributor in the inaugural PPAI 100 – suffered a data breach in November 2023 that affected 7,305 people, according to a report filed this week with the Office of the Maine Attorney General.

    • The Sterling, Illinois-based company reported that it was hacked on November 22, 2023, resulting in unauthorized access to some of its computer systems.  

    “We immediately took steps to contain the incident and engaged federal law enforcement and leading cybersecurity experts to investigate the matter,” HALO told PPAI Media. "It wasn't until February 2024 that our investigation discovered that the data we reported to the state of Maine was impacted."

    What Happened?

    In a notice to impacted clients sent on March 28, HALO CEO Marc Simon said that some computer systems were accessed by a “sophisticated threat actor” who evaded detection by HALO’s information security defenses.

    The threat actor stole private information, such as names, birthdays and Social Security numbers of some of its current and former employees, as well as independent contractors, HALO said.  

    • That information was provided to HALO’s human resources department for tax or benefits purposes, according to the notice.


    “Upon discovering the situation, we promptly took these systems offline, notified law enforcement and engaged cybersecurity experts to investigate," Simon said, adding that HALO has recovered the files.

    “To our knowledge, we’re not aware of any actual or attempted misuse of personal information as a result of this incident,” Simon said.

    Next Steps

    “Since early December, HALO has been operating normally and is confident the incident has been contained,” the firm told PPAI Media.

    Ongoing efforts since the data breach include HALO working with external cybersecurity experts to investigate what happened, strengthening its computer network and monitoring the “dark web” for information relating to the company, Simon said.

    HALO is offering affected clients the option to enroll in an identity protection solution from Cyberscout free of charge for 12 months.

    • In the notice, HALO also included an Identity Protection Reference Guide that includes information on general steps you can take to monitor and protect your personal information.

    “Please know that we’ve taken a number of steps to address this situation, and that we’re committed to doing the right thing for everyone involved,” Simon said.

    Written by: John Corrigan

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 3 Apr 2024 12:39 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    A T-shirt that tells a story. That’s the goal of California-based supplier Lane Seven Apparel (PPAI 630869, Standard-Base). Lane Seven kicked off a series of interactive experiences designed to engage customers and end users at South by Southwest, the annual mid-March festival focused on creative pursuits including film, interactive media and music.

    Meghan Brazzelle, senior sales manager for Lane Seven, lives in Austin, Texas, where SXSW takes place, and she knew the festival would be a great way to connect with and support emerging artists. “It’s more than just a music festival, or TV and film,” she adds, “so you really reach all creative types.”

    Milissa Gibson, L7 sales director, agrees. “I don’t think that there is a more organic and central point anywhere in the current market that you can bring a brand to and then have it blow up immediately after that,” she says. “You’re reaching and engaging with everyone from Porsche all the way down to a garage band.”

    The Road To SXSW

    Shortly after she joined the team at Lane Seven last May, Brazzelle reached out to a friend who also happens to be the merchandise manager for SXSW to secure the company’s spot as the official T-shirt sponsor for SXSW 2024.

    A big part of the deal and its appeal was the SXSW merch truck, which made its debut in 2023. Social media posts alert followers to its location as it travels to different SXSW events across the city, adding the excitement of a scavenger hunt.

    Lane Seven partnered with Supacolor (PPAI 820922, Standard-Base) to bring on-the-spot, live decoration to the merch truck to further engage customers. Once a buyer purchased an official SXSW shirt, they could add their choice of L7’s art via heat transfer for free, and they were invited to post photos with the hashtag #L7SXSW.

    Lane Seven also solicited artwork via social media to adorn a free-with-purchase tee that was given out at SXSW. “The idea with that was to piggyback on the innovation that takes place at South by Southwest and hopefully inspire our customers [with] the opportunity to have their artwork to prominently displayed on South by Southwest merch,” says Alexis Shubin, marketing manager for Lane Seven.

    “We’re showing off what we do, but what we really love is showing off what our customers are doing,” says Gibson. “There’s so much creativity and ingenuity in this industry. … I’m awestruck by what people come up with.”

    Lessons For The Road Ahead

    Brazzelle says the SXSW activation proved to be a great way to showcase Lane Seven merchandise, as well as make a lasting impression – both on the shirt and in the customer’s mind.

    “It’s more than just printing or decorating a shirt or a hoodie,” she says. “It’s also being able to create those unique and memorable moments that someone can take home to build a deeper connection with our brand.”

    As official sponsors, the L7 team was able to set up not only next to the merch truck but also in the SXSW official merch booth, putting them at the heart of the action where they were able to engage in valuable conversations. “Engaging with up-and-coming artists about the significance of merch in building their brand was not only enlightening but also incredibly rewarding,” says Brazzelle.

    And SXSW was only the beginning, adds Shubin. “We plan to have the tour keep going to trade shows, so hopefully it takes on a life of its own,” she says. By the end of March, the team had already completed two more activations: one at a decorators’ trade show and another during a large distributor’s internal conference.

    “We’ve learned a lot, and we are so excited to explore where this tour is going to take us,” says Gibson. “Being at SXSW and seeing firsthand the engagement people had with the art and garment was a great reminder of the power of merch and how much it can tell a brand story.”

    Written by: Rachel Zoch

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 3 Apr 2024 12:35 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The relationship between distributors and the suppliers they work with is fundamental to success in the promotional products industry. Some suppliers go the extra mile to make that relationship run smoother, respond more efficiently and be more fruitful for all involved. PPAI’s Supplier Stars award recognizes those suppliers who have gone above and beyond.

    The 24 companies recognized here have been chosen by industry distributors for the quality of their communications, customer service, products, decorating and packaging.

    The Supplier Star is one of four PPAI Pyramid Awards, the industry’s pinnacle of achievement, now in its 66th year. Distributors cast their votes for one supplier in each of 12 categories. This annual competition is open to all PPAI supplier members in good standing who update their sales volume every two years as required and maintain a SAGE supplier rating of A or higher.

    New Supplier Member

    Supplier Star

    Stellar Lanyards North America
    Miami, Florida

    With over a decade in business as a leading dye sublimation textile manufacturer in Mexico, Stellar Lanyards specializes in producing lanyards, wristbands, hats and drawstring bags. Stella Lanyards is now entering the U.S. promotional market, offering fully in-house production, which eliminates overseas sourcing dependencies. The company operates as an audited facility, ensuring compliance with international and labor standards for the manufacturing of licensed merchandise.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Sweeter Cards
    St. Louis, Missouri

    Sweeter Cards, a WBENC certified business, merges the worlds of greeting cards and gourmet chocolate bars into one. The company is committed to ethical practices, exclusively using fair-trade certified chocolates. The chocolates are crafted using clean ingredients free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and hydrogenated oils. Sweeter Cards is also dedicated to sustainability, using recyclable card packaging and vegetable-based inks. Beyond their product, the company embodies inclusivity, employing adults with disabilities.


    Supplier Star

    Totally Bamboo
    San Marcos, California

    Totally Bamboo’s journey began as a different company – Hollywood Chairs in North Hollywood. Seeking to enhance their foldable chairs, the company turned to bamboo for its strength and lightness. Inspired by its eco-friendly properties, the company pioneered the first bamboo cutting board, marking the birth of Totally Bamboo. The company showcases its commitment to sustainability and ingenuity by introducing groundbreaking products like the first laminated bamboo salad bowl and dishwasher-safe bamboo cutting board.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    GMG Works
    Lakewood, New Jersey

    From designing and providing free customized virtuals and samples to delivering products promptly, GMG Works ensures that clients stay ahead in the promotional producst market and top of mind for their clients. With a history of selling more than 1 billion pens, the company boasts a commitment to fast turnaround and competitive pricing. GMG Works offers a comprehensive line of drinkware, notebooks, mugs, clips, poker chips, highlighters, magnets and other promotional items.


    Supplier Star

    YM Labs
    Clearfield, Utah

    Founded in 1993, YM Labs introduced high-intensity flavored lip balms to the promotional products industry when basic flavors dominated the market. Today, the company goes beyond lip balms, now producing hand sanitizers, lotions, gels, sunscreen products and more in its Utah factory, which handles compounding, filling and labeling in house. Operating as an FDA-compliant facility following cGMP guidelines, the company now offers over 30 stock lip balm flavors.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Illinois Glove Company
    Northbrook, Illinois

    Illinois Glove Company is a fourth-generation family business, offering custom-imprinted gloves tailored to every promotion and budget. The company handles in-house printing using high-quality methods and equipment to ensure that client logos and safety messages look their best on its gloves. Illinois Glove Company gloves have safeguarded workers in oilfields, utilities, factories and mines, as well as American soldiers in four wars.

    $500,001-$1 Million

    Supplier Star

    Syosset, New York

    WOWLine, a third-generation family-owned business, has been in business for more than 50 years. Previously known as Many Mini Toys, the company is known for toys, games, puzzles and novelties, but more recently branched out to add practical items for the kitchen, health and wellness, pets and much more. The CPSIA-compliant company has also made significant strides in promoting eco-friendly materials, with products made from materials such as bamboo, recycled paper and recycled plastic.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    For over 40 years, EMT has delivered exceptional brand and recognition experiences through a variety of custom-made products. The trusted supplier of lapel pins, patches and emblematic jewelry remains committed to a singular vision, “to delight, unite and inspire the world, one emblem at a time.”

    $1,000,001-$2.5 Million

    Supplier Star

    Lorton, Virginia

    With an initial focus on lanyards and ID products, imprintID has expanded its product lines to include tech accessories, drinkware, apparel, headwear, office supplies and more. ImprintID also offers a variety of decorating methods, including die cut, screen print, heat press, color/full-bleed sublimation, embossing, embroidery and more. The company strives to provide the best customer experience without hassle and instill confidence in every order.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Bentcil Company
    Indianapolis, Indiana

    Originally focusing on bent pencils and bent pens, Bentcil Company has been a presence in the promotional product industry for over 40 years. Originating with American-made bent pencils and later introducing bent pens, the company’s creative product line has continually evolved. Its original creations include Smashlights, Gato Clips, Dateline Calendars, Bentcils and Inkbend. Most of Bentcil’s products are designed in the USA.

    $2,500,001-$5 Million

    Supplier Star

    Jornik Manufacturing
    Stamford, Connecticut

    Jornik Manufacturing is a family-owned and operated supplier. Jornik offers a vibrant, wide range of products across all categories and stands out for its emphasis on product responsibility practices. In support of its responsibility goals, the company works to ensure that its core products are not just designed but engineered, manufactured, tested and inspected to exceed expectations.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    AZX Sport
    Tonawanda, New York

    AZX Sport offers a blend of domestic production on both the East Coast and West Coast, coupled with overseas sourcing. Having been in business for over 20 years, AZX has built a reputation for quality and customer service, reflected in their several industry awards. The company operates facilities in New York, California and Canada and upholds a strong commitment to product responsibility and ethical conduct.

    $5,000,001-$10 Million

    Supplier Star

    Raining Rose
    Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    A full-service manufacturer, Raining Rose specializes in personal care products such as lip balms, sunscreens and lotions. The company is guided by its core values encapsulated in ASPIRE: Attitude, Safety, Passion, Integrity, Relationship and Evolve. With regular third-party audits, their FDA-registered facility is certified for USDA organic production. Raining Rose is also a certified B Corporation, reflecting its commitment to high standards of accountability.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Towel Specialties
    Baltimore, Maryland

    Towel Specialties is a family-owned business that began in 1985 with a goal to provide innovative products and unsurpassed customer service. Many of the company’s employees and outside sales reps have more than 20 years of service, providing continuity and product knowledge to keep customers coming back year after year. Its lineup of products includes beach and golf towels, beach accessories, blankets, robes and more. In addition, Towel Specialties facilities have been audited for product safety, product quality, social accountability, environmental stewardship and supply chain security.

    $10,000,001-$20 Million

    Supplier Star

    Pro Towels
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    Pro Towels – the No. 42 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – has built a varied product line encompassing beach, golf and sport towels. The company offers in-house screen printing and embroidery services, along with domestic manufacturing capabilities. Based in Pittsburgh, the company also operates facilities in Camarillo, California; Abbeville County, South Carolina; and Richmond, British Columbia.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Fields Manufacturing
    St. Cloud, Minnesota

    Fields Manufacturing was established more than 30 years ago to bring a selection of branded merchandise to the promotional products industry, from lanyards and drinkware to die-cast vehicles. It is the parent company of the American Greenwood, Better Life Line, Sprout Tyme and TargetLine brands and offers a diverse range of products.

    $20,000,001-$35 Million

    Supplier Star

    Shelbyville, Tennessee

    Goldstar – the No. 16 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – manufactures customized writing instruments, drinkware and bags, and ships from locations in California, Tennessee, Ireland and the Czech Republic. The company offers full-color decoration, large imprint areas and high-capacity laser engraving in addition to free creative, on-demand sales and marketing tools.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Starline USA
    Grand Island, New York

    Starline USA – the No. 13 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – specializes in delivering quality, high-end gifts and awards from name brands like uniball, Stanley, Pelican and more. Starline prides itself on its patented and award-winning TruColor digital decoration technique, a technology with the capability of printing standard one-color or multi-color logos, photographs, tight registration and logos with half-tones or gradients. The company emphasizes a commitment to innovative design, with 90% of last year’s sales comprising products introduced within the past five years.

    $35,000,001-$50 Million

    Supplier Star

    Gold Bond
    Hixson, Tennessee

    Gold Bond has evolved from a small pencil company to the No. 22 supplier in the PPAI 100, operating out of three facilities on two continents. The company supplies hard goods, apparel and accessories and prides itself on being large enough to handle demanding orders while small enough to be flexible in accommodating customer requests. Gold Bond says its greatest asset is its ability to adapt to the ever-changing needs of its partners, and each team member strives to exceed customer expectations.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Union, Illinois

    BAG MAKERS – the No. 23 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – is a supplier of printed bags, specializing in a diverse range including non-woven, PET non-woven, paper, plastic, polyester, laminated, cotton/jute and mesh bags. The company delivers quality imprints, products and service and offers custom design capabilities, free artwork services and rush options. BAG MAKERS prides itself on its on-time shipping performance and customer satisfaction and is certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise.

    $50,000,001-$100 Million

    Supplier Star

    Ariel Premium Supply
    St. Louis, Missouri

    With an initial focus on stress relievers, Ariel Premium Supply has evolved to design and decorate thousands of products across dozens of categories. The No. 15 supplier in the PPAI 100 and celebrating its 30th year in the industry, Ariel Premium Supply has grown to be a global operation with production and sourcing offices in five countries. The company has now shifted its focus toward sustainability, actively pursuing the development of more eco- friendly products.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Lawrence, Massachusetts

    Founded in 1958, Gemline – the No. 5 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – supplies bags, business accessories, stationary, drinkware, gifts and writing instruments to the promotional products market. Its diverse product portfolio includes offerings from multiple house brands such as Aviana, Gourmet Expressions and Vertex, alongside trusted consumer brands like Moleskine, Samsonite and Igloo. Headquartered in Massachusetts with a presence in southern China, Gemline employs over 500 professionals worldwide.

    More Than $100 Million

    Supplier Star

    Issaquah, Washington

    SanMar is the largest supplier of wholesale imprintable clothing and accessories in the United States, earning its place as the No. 1 supplier in the inaugural PPAI 100. Founded more than 50 years ago with a core philosophy of “Be Nice and Tell the Truth,” the family-owned company operates eight distribution centers nationwide and represents over 30 brands. SanMar offers service on a wide range of retail and private-label imprintable apparel and accessories.

    Supplier Award of Merit

    Trevose, Pennsylvania

    With a portfolio of more than 6,500 styles from more than 80 brands, alphabroder – the No. 3 supplier in the 2023 PPAI 100 – offers classic and trending apparel, along with an array of products like drinkware, bags, journals and technology items. The company’s 10 distribution and production facilities strategically cover 99% of the U.S. population with one- to two-day shipping and operates under the vision statement, “Be the most trusted and valued partner for branded products and services.”

    Written by: Sarah Luna

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 28 Mar 2024 10:50 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Early Tuesday morning a massive container ship struck Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge, causing a significant portion of it to collapse into the Patapsco River. As of Thursday morning, the bodies of two construction workers who had been performing repairs on the bridge's roadway have been recovered, while four more are missing and presumed dead.

    • As immediate safety concerns are addressed, various industries are left to speculate over how shipping logistics will be affected by the closure of the Port of Baltimore for an undetermined period.
    • Most promo suppliers are unlikely to feel any direct impact from the immediate closure of the Port of Baltimore, but there are a number of factors that could see promo’s supply chain affected by it in the coming weeks or months.

    • $80.8 billion in trade.
    • 7 million tons of general cargo.
    • 3 million tons of roll-on/roll-off farm and construction machinery.
    • 847,000 cars and small trucks
    Other automakers, like BMW and Volkswagen, that utilize the port only anticipate temporarily delays.

    Other East Coast ports in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Virginia will likely absorb the shipments that Baltimore would have taken on, which will require careful logistics to avoid a strain on any given port.

    Nearby ports’ ability to absorb additional cargo could affect promo firms’ operations.

    Congestion in any given port could also lead to delays in shipping. Industry companies will likely need to coordinate with partners along their individual supply chains for up-to-date freight timeframes.

    Much of 2023 saw the West Coast ports contending with labor issues. They ultimately avoided prolonged labor stoppages, but many companies opted to reroute through the East Coast.

    That dynamic reversed at the end of 2023, as drought affected the Panama Canal’s viability as a cargo passage, sending many shippers back to the West Coast.

    A labor strike at East Coast ports remains a possibility ahead of a September 30 contract deadline. Disruption in the ports, or overwork among any given East Coast port because of the Port of Baltimore closure, will likely not help these dynamics, which past events have shown can become tense quickly.

    “There is no question that this will have a major and protracted impact to supply chains,” says Pete Buttigieg, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation.

    Life Without The Port Of Baltimore

    According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the Port of Baltimore is the 20th largest port in the country. Approximate logistical numbers for the port in 2023 include:

    The port is somewhat unique in that a significant portion of its cargo is made up off “roll-on/roll-off” shipments including passenger cars, farm equipment and large construction materials. It’s the country’s busiest port for car and light truck shipments, and industry observers speculate that prolonged closure could push automobile prices higher in the coming months.

    Currently, there is no official estimate on when vessels will be able to enter and leave the port, as stated by the port’s social media accounts. Some estimates suggest fully clearing the bridge debris could take as long as three months.

    Ford and GM have already diverted shipments away from the port, with Ford’s CFO publicly stating the closure will “have an impact” on the company.

    The port has 12 private and five public terminals from which vessels can enter and depart.

    Replacing the bridge could take several years, with the condition of its existing foundational structures a major factor in shaping the ultimate timeline. President Joe Biden has stated that he does not plan on waiting for an investigation that could hold the ship responsible for collapse in order to pay for the rebuilding process.

    “It’s my intention that the federal government will pay for the entire cost of reconstructing that bridge, and I expect Congress to support my effort,” Biden says. “This is going to take some time. We’re not leaving until this job is done.”

    Promo Perspective

    It is unlikely that promo is among the industries to face any immediate pressure due to the port’s closing.

    Shawn Kanak, president of Towel Specialties, based in Baltimore, said that he does not expect any slowdowns in production or shipment caused by the bridge’s collapse.

    “The Francis Scott Key bridge is 10 miles away from Towel Specialties and didn't impact any employees,” Kanak says. “We are fully operational and preparing for our busiest spring/summer season ever. We don't anticipate the accident and rebuild affecting our business as we have always utilized multiple ports of entry for our products for nearly 40 years. We are, of course, mournful of the loss in the community and appreciate everyone's concerns.”

    However, in the macro sense, promo companies should monitor the situation, as well as their logistics, carefully. The aftermath of the collision risks disrupting an already precarious freight-based supply chain, both for industry companies and their clients.

    Even further into the future, the events could change or accelerate trends in how freight enters and moves through the U.S.

    Written by: Jonny Auping

    Published with Permission from PPAI

  • 27 Mar 2024 11:48 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Polyconcept North America (PCNA), the leading supplier of promotional products, is proud to announce the appointment of Doug Mitchell to the role of Chief Growth Officer, a new position within the company's Executive Leadership Team. Mitchell is tasked with spearheading strategic initiatives focused on high growth and driving innovation throughout PCNA's operations in North America.

    With a proven track record of building and scaling high-performing teams and products throughout his 15 years of experience in e-commerce, digital marketing, and advertising, Doug Mitchell is exceptionally positioned to contribute to PCNA’s mission. Most recently, he was the Vice President of Performance Marketing at Chewy, where he enhanced the online customer acquisition and retention programs for the leading pet retailer. Prior to that, Mitchell was the General Manager of Supplier Advertising and Retail Media at Wayfair, where he further solidified his expertise in building and growing a cross-functional business unit that created impactful advertising solutions for Wayfair's suppliers and partners.

    "I am incredibly excited to contribute to PCNA's market leadership by advancing the company's growth and innovative endeavors, especially through Givee Select, PCNA's pioneering gifting solution,” expressed Mitchell. “The demand for a streamlined, personalized gifting experience is significant, and I am dedicated to ensuring Givee Select not only meets but exceeds distributor expectations."

    Launched in January 2024, Givee Select is a centralized online store solution that streamlines personalized gifting, offering a seamless gifting process for any occasion, such as conferences and corporate events. The all-in-one platform empowers distributors to handpick from a curated collection of high-quality gifts, facilitating the option for unique personalization, transparent pricing, no inventory obligations, and reduced waste. To date, Givee Select is nearing 1,000 store set ups, highlighting the platform’s growing demand in the industry.

    Mitchell is no stranger to the Promotional Products industry, having led the team that created Vistaprint’s wholesale business as Vice President of Partner Development for seven years. His entrepreneurial spirit is also demonstrated through his co-founding and leadership as CEO at OfferLogic, which aligns exceptionally with PCNA's innovative drive.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Doug to the PCNA family,” stated Neil Ringel, CEO of PCNA. “Doug's entrepreneurial mindset and proven track record in driving growth make him an invaluable addition to our team. We are confident that he will help us achieve our vision of becoming the leading provider of personalized and customized products in North America.”

    Doug Mitchell attended the US Naval Academy, earned a bachelor’s degree at Brown University and his MBA from The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.

  • 22 Mar 2024 12:55 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Evans Manufacturing (ASI #54280) proudly announces the addition of Tanner Pittman to their team as the new MidWest|MidSouth Sales Account Executive. With four years of experience in the promotional products industry, Tanner brings his expertise and passion, making him a valuable asset to the company.

    In expressing excitement about the new role, Tanner shared, "I am thrilled for the opportunity to become one of the ‘Avengers of Promo’ and develop under the guidance of Alex Symms, who has made tremendous headways in the industry. My love for this industry has been overwhelming- I’ve realized my closest friends and the people I talk to the most frequently are within the industry!  I’m so excited and grateful for the opportunity to further deepen my knowledge of this industry with Evan’s and HPG!"

    Pittman comes from 4 years of experience with Outdoor Cap, a supplier of blank and decorated caps and headwear. I anticipate new challenges, Tanner expressed, "I'm excited to learn a new side of the industry, meet new customers, reconnect with existing customers, and live out the Evan's and HPG mission of providing quality product and service to their distributors."

    Tanner is currently focused on immersing himself in the new role and environment. He emphasized commitment to bringing innovation and dedication to the MidWest|MidSouth Sales Account Executive position.

    "We are delighted to welcome Tanner to the HPG and Evans Manufacturing family," said Alex Symms, Director of Sales for West Coast Operations at HPG. "His addition to our team reflects our ongoing commitment to providing the highest level of service and expertise to our clients. With Tanner on board, we are confident in our ability to continue delivering innovative solutions and exceeding our customer expectations.  We couldn't be more excited about Tanner's arrival and his future here."
  • 22 Mar 2024 12:10 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Logomark (PPAI 110898, Platinum) – the No. 19 supplier in the inaugural PPAI 100 – has launched the first DisplaySplash product under its Eco-Lifestyle product line. The initial release features stretchy table covers made from recycled water bottles.

    • The open- and closed-back table covers come in three sizes featuring full color dye sublimation decoration. They are fire-retardant and machine washable. Later this year, the company will expand the line to include flags and tents.

    “We are thrilled to introduce the Eco-Lifestyle DisplaySplash line as a sustainable solution for businesses looking to have a positive impact on the environment,” says Maggie Wheeler, senior vice president of new product development. “With the increasing focus on sustainability, our rPET table covers offer a compelling way for brands to elevate their marketing efforts while demonstrating their commitment to eco-conscious practices.”

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