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  • Monday, August 12, 2019 12:30 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Multi-like rep Tony Tuso rolls in style, bringing his showroom directly to his clients via a custom-fit RV.

    PPB When did you start using a mobile showroom to feature products, and how did you come up with the idea?

    Tuso I began using the RV mobile showroom in 2009. I like to say that I came up with the idea, but after seeing a few of my fellow reps using this type of presentation, I thought I would join the adventure and give it a try myself.

    PPB What sort of response do you receive from clients or prospective clients about the mobile showroom?

    Tuso At first when I inform them that our meeting will take place at their location but inside of the 36-foot RV mobile showroom, they are a little baffled. Once they enter the RV and see the more than 400 professionally displayed products, I get the ‘wow, this is awesome,’ response. The clients actually sit, relax and are less distracted during our meetings. Clients and suppliers see this as a real opportunity to actually see and display many more of their products in the short time that we, as reps, are given during the course of an hour or so. Distributors many times have requested the use of the RV mobile showroom to use for their own client meetings, as well as for client open houses at their customers’ locations. Recently, a top distributor in Dallas was in the process of moving and requested the use of the RV mobile showroom so they could meet with their clients, who were flying in for a meeting. This is a win-win for both distributors and their clients. Distributors only need to contact me with their client’s location and I will arrive, set up the RV and let the selling begin.

    PPB How important do you think it is to think outside the box—or, as you would say, go the ‘extra mile’—to connect with clients?

    Tuso Clients today are looking to their distributors for creative ways to earn their business. Giving that one-on-one personal touch is still one of the best ways to ensure a client’s commitment when deciding whether to purchase from them or an unknown source. Clients love the opportunity I provide for them, allowing them to actually see, touch and discuss the products on display. The other benefit that I offer to them and their clients is the availability to receive an actual sample right on the spot, rather than having to order it. Making a purchase many times is spontaneous, and if they can actually have a sample in their hands it speeds up the process of getting the order. I call this, ‘taking the showroom to the client.’

    PPB Speaking of ‘miles,’ do you know how many miles your showroom has traveled? Or, across how many states?

    Tuso Over the past nine years I have logged 135,000 miles traveling through six states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, Colorado and New Mexico.

    PPB Have you experimented with other forms of product presentation that are unusual or unexpected?

    Tuso In my 33 years, I have tried many different approaches when making presentations. The RV mobile showroom has been the most successful, but I have also ventured outside the box with using special event locations, such as the new Cowboys Stadium at field level, wineries and vintage airplane museums. All have been locations that interest the distributors enough to come and spend time with me and my suppliers. Thinking outside the box is what opens opportunities for success.   


    Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

  • Tuesday, May 07, 2019 3:40 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    The Promotional Products Association Southwest (PPAS) is proud to announce The Paper Place as a Diamond-Level Partner and its exclusive cup and napkin provider and Professional Development sponsor in 2019.

    “This partnership with The Paper Place will allow us to provide ongoing education, college scholarships, MAS/CAS testing and networking events for local industry professionals,” said Jarod Thorndike, President, PPAS Board of Directors.

    The Paper Place, a Dallas based family-owned supplier, specializes in producing high-quality custom imprinted napkins, guest towels and cups. The Paper Place has recently published its 2019 Guide for Promotional Products Distributors with ideas, tips and pricing that can be shared with clients.

    “We appreciate the opportunity to help PPAS members add real value for their customers and profits for themselves with custom imprinted napkins, guest towels and cups. What a great group of people!” stated Kerry Johnson, The Paper Place’s founder.

    About Paper Place

    Recognized as a 2019 A+ SAGE Rated Supplier (SAGE# 50777), The Paper Place is also a member of PPAI (PPAI# 612402) and Houston Promotional Products Association (HPPA). The Paper Place will be showcasing its new offering, 4-color custom imprinted 3-ply napkins, during the upcoming SAGE Showcase, May 6-10, 2019 in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, Houston & San Antonio.
  • Saturday, March 16, 2019 10:10 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business is proud to announce that TG Promotions has joined the team. The distributor consists of a group of nine people: 3 sales and 6 support team members and was founded by Terry Greer and his wife, Linda. They also brought on Jessica Huffman Dobosh to the sales team in November of 2017. She has experience on the supplier side of the industry, and is positioned as the future of leader of TG.

    Their move was fueled primarily by technology needs: “The technology that American brings to the table will help us to become fully automated,” explains Terry Greer, co-founder of TG Promotions. “Under our old system, no less than three people would have their hands on a piece of paper because our ordering, billing, shipping and customer websites were all on different platforms that were not able to be integrated. We will immediately notice significant cost savings in the technology itself, and once we become proficient in the new platforms, the labor savings will be unquantifiable as our people will be able to focus more on sales and marketing initiatives.”

    Another key motivator for the move was the culture within ASB. They realized several interesting things that stuck out about the employees – 1. Many have extremely long tenures at the company and 2. They are part of the ESOP (employee owners in a stock plan). After the group visited the home office in Glenwood, MN, met Larry Zavadil (Founder/CEO), the support team and other ASB sales associates, they decided it was a good fit.

    “The Greers and their entire team have such a positive energy,” says Greg Nelson, ASB’s Implementation Manager. “They’re so easy to work with and it’s clear that our cultures mesh seamlessly.”

    “We are also impressed by the comradery of the other sales people and their willingness to share their knowledge,” adds Linda Greer, co-founder of TG. “We have always been heavy in apparel and promo, but have been intimidated by the print aspect of the business. We’re excited about the opportunities to learn about new products that we can introduce into our current client base. We feel like these opportunities will enable us to easily double our business in the next 3 years.”
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 10:50 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business’ Vice President of Technology, Mike Pfeiffer, recently spoke to local students at Minnewaska Area High School’s Career Day. The school is located near Glenwood, Minnesota, where ASB’s Home Office is based. Many of these students are children of employees and some become summer interns and future employees. Therefore, for the leadership team at ASB, getting involved with area schools is always a top priority.

    Pfeiffer discussed the following topics:

    • Evolution of Technology – He explained, “Your smartphone is millions of times more powerful than all of NASA’s combined computing in 1969.”
    • Nearly all fields involve technology today.
    • AgTech (Agricultural Technology) is one of the fastest growing fields.
    • Cyber Security is hot and marketable: “A 200,000 worker shortage exists and is expected to grow. Cybersecurity may be the fastest-growing career field today, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimating that the field will grow 28 percent between 2016 and 2026 (average growth for all jobs is about 7 percent).”
    • Don’t specialize too much in high school – make sure to be open to trying many fields. Pfeiffer shared with them that he wanted to be an accountant prior to 11th grade.
    • Don’t overlook local technical and community colleges to get your 2-year degree, get employed, leverage your education with tuition reimbursement benefits and commitment to life-long learning.
    • High-speed Bandwidth (defined as 10 Mbps minimum download speed ) today is like electricity to the home for our parents’ generation. Not all homes have high-speed, but cities are under increasing pressure to meet that threshold to continue to see residents move to – instead of leave – their cities.
    Much of Pfeiffer’s presentation and conversation with the students centered around the technology field on a large scale and local level so that they could understand their options in relation to their own career goals and path. ASB continues to search for more opportunities to get involved in local education, technology advances and overall contribution to our communities.
  • Wednesday, March 13, 2019 10:08 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Blair Hawley has joined BIC Graphic North America (PPAI 114187) in the newly created role of chief operating officer. Hawley will lead all operations and support functions, including manufacturing, customer service, procurement, inventory, planning, supply chain and logistics for the Tampa, Florida-based supplier. He reports directly to David Klatt, CEO.

    "I have a passion for continuous improvement and excellence in execution across all elements of the supply chain," says Hawley. "I look forward to bringing this passion to my new role and providing custom solutions for BIC Graphic customers."

    Hawley will be directly responsible for delivering a best-in-class customer experience through implementation of key strategic initiatives that will create value and streamline processes. He brings expertise in managing global supply chains with numerous facilities and significant international workforces in highly customizable, multiple order environments.

     He holds a degree in management engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and has spent his career in supply chain management and operations. He has led business transformation efforts and developed strategic partnerships in custom business with well-known consumer brands such as Broyhill, Snuggle, Playtex, Hawaiian Tropic, Ronzoni, Remington and Timex.

  • Monday, March 11, 2019 2:08 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Top 40 supplier Stouse (asi/89910) announced Monday that Clay Davis is its new CEO and president effective immediately.  Davis succeeds Bruce Reed, who is retiring after 14 years of leading the New Century, KS-based firm. Reed will remain active on the company’s Board of Directors.
    Davis, who will be responsible for guiding the next phase of Stouse’s growth and corporate development, has more than 25 years of experience in senior leadership, sales and marketing roles in the packaging, printing and food manufacturing sectors. He most recently served as vice president and general manager for Flint Group North America’s packaging business. According to Stouse, Clay has served in leadership positions with some of the most well-known consumer brands in the country.

    “After an extensive search, we are very pleased to have found a leader of Clay’s stature and experience,” said Reed. “I feel very confident leaving this organization in his capable hands, and look forward to working with and supporting him as he builds upon the Stouse platform.”

    Davis is excited to be aboard. “Stouse has a strong reputation for excellent service in the specialty printing industry,” he said. “I am thrilled to join the company. We plan to explore ways to innovate and help drive growth for our customers while upholding the high-value service our clients deserve.”

    Executives at Goldner Hawn, the Minnesota-based private equity firm of which Stouse is a portfolio company, thanked Reed for his work at the supplier company. 

    “Bruce has been instrumental in building Stouse to its market-leading position,” said Joe Heinen, managing director of Goldner Hawn. “All of us at Goldner Hawn and the Stouse team are thankful for his vision, leadership, integrity and friendship over these many years. He is leaving behind an exceptionally strong organization poised for even more success in the future.”

    With reported 2017 North American promotional product revenue of $50.9 million, Stouse ranked 29th on Counselor’s latest list of the largest suppliers in the industry.

  • Wednesday, March 06, 2019 7:48 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Pantone, LLC, has introduced Pantone Metallics for Graphic and Packaging Design, a collection of metallic spot colors intended for use on printed products, packaging, branding and other collateral. This addition to the Pantone Graphics System enables designers, brands and printers to specify and produce luxurious, dazzling colors in a more versatile and cost-effective way when compared to other commonly used metallic applications for print.

    The new Pantone Metallics combines the prior premium and regular metallic publications into one collection and includes a new Rose Gold base ink and 53 other new colors. The full selection features 655 metallic shades that are globally available off-the-shelf and designed to enhance projects.

    “With their sheen and sparkle, metallic shades instantly capture and captivate the eye, adding visual texture and differentiation from surrounding products on-shelf,” says Laurie Pressman, vice president, Pantone Color Institute. “Entranced by luminosity, iridescence and holographic effects, our love for metallic and pearlescent finishes continues to build, particularly in packaging design. To address this growing trend, our new metallic palette for print encompasses a range of core metal shades including cool and chic silvers, lustrous golds, earthy bronzes as well as a wide variety of colored metal tones that take their cue from fashion and lifestyle, including vivid reds, bold pinks, minty greens, watery teals and warming corals.”

    The 54 new shades were inspired by the Pantone Metallic Shimmers, recently added to the Pantone Fashion, Home + Interiors System. For designers and suppliers working across materials, this alignment helps ensure that print and packaging colors can be more easily matched to products created in other materials and substrates including textiles, plastics, paint and more.

    As the latest update to the Pantone Graphics color system, Pantone Metallics are intended to complement the existing elements of the system and are available in two physical formats—the Metallics Coated Guide, used for color specification and communication, it is a portable fan deck including color numbers and ink formulations, and the Metallic Chips Coated Book, for palette development, color specification and communication, and production reference, it is a single-volume, three-ring binder. In addition, all 655 metallic colors for print are available digitally for accessibility and viewing in design software and on-screen applications. Further, brands and their software and systems providers can license the color identities and then specifying into their style guides and designs.

  • Saturday, March 02, 2019 9:25 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    American Solutions for Business is honored to be a recipient of Gill-line’s award for a Top Twenty-Five Distributor in 2018.

    “We’re incredibly grateful for our partnership with Gill-line,” explains Dana Zezzo, ASB’s VP of Marketing, Vendor Relations and Events. “Recognition like this is beginning to become a lost art – we appreciate this acknowledgement and will display this award proudly.”   

    “We’re pleased to present this Top 25 award to ASB!” shares Mike Malinowski, VP of Sales at Gill-line. “Thanks to all ASB affiliates for “sticking” with Gill-line!”

    About American Solutions for Business
    American was founded in 1981 in Glenwood, Minnesota, and has evolved into a leading distributor, providing our customers with print, promotional products, marketing collateral, fulfillment and more. Despite our growth in technology, resources and sales, we maintain our grassroots attitude by operating as the only large employee-owned distributorship in the industry. This results in a team of personally-invested employees that care for our customers’ branding, spend and creative reach to help achieve their goals.
  • Friday, March 01, 2019 3:36 PM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Americans for Free Trade, a broad coalition of more than 150 U.S. businesses and trade associations united against tariffs and of which PPAI® is a member, sent a letter this week to President Trump commending the administration for making progress on trade negotiations and recognizing the negative impact of tariffs on American businesses by avoiding a tariff hike on March 1. The coalition emphasized the urgency of concluding trade talks as existing tariffs and ongoing uncertainty continue to hurt promotional products businesses and others across the country.

    “It is our hope that this momentum will build in the weeks ahead and lead to a final deal that addresses structural issues in China, removes tariffs on both sides and eliminates trade uncertainty facing American businesses and farmers,” said the coalition’s letter. “Although we are encouraged by the latest signs of progress, it is important to note that existing tariffs and shifting deadlines are hanging over American businesses and farmers and undermining their ability to grow, invest and plan for the future.”

    The letter also asks the administration to publish a required Federal Register notice before March 2 confirming and detailing the decision to avoid a tariff increase in order to provide the business community with certainty.

    “We are eager to see a trade deal with China that addresses structural issues such as intellectual property theft and technology transfer while removing existing tariffs and the threat of tariffs in the future,” the letter stated. “Millions of American farmers, businesses, workers and families are counting on you to achieve a positive resolution that keeps America competitive on the global stage while growing our economy and protecting the millions of U.S. jobs supported by trade.”

    The coalition letter also highlighted the rising cost of the trade war using monthly data on how much new tariffs have cost American businesses and consumers. The most recent monthly data, which comes from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows that American businesses paid an additional $2.7 billion in November 2018, compared to $375 million in tariffs on the same products in 2017.

    The full text of the letter can be found here.

  • Monday, February 25, 2019 8:05 AM | Cassondra Franze (Administrator)

    Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) has selected PPAI® to provide the regional association with management services. SAAC will continue to work under the stewardship of its board of directors and will maintain autonomy and a 501(c)(6) not-for-profit status as a professional trade association. A dedicated PPAI representative will serve as SAAC's executive director and will be supported by additional staff resources.

    "We are incredibly excited to partner with PPAI as our chosen association management company," says SAAC Board President Rhett Todd. "The level of support PPAI will provide is much more robust than that of a standard association management company. They are on the forefront of legislative and regulatory matters, and we believe working together in California will not only be beneficial for SAAC members but will ultimately help pioneer initiatives that will positively affect the industry at large."

    PPAI and SAAC operate under separate missions designed to serve the promotional products industry at the international and regional levels, respectively. This shared vision and natural alignment strengthens the presence of SAAC in the region, while creating more opportunities for SAAC and PPAI members. 

    PPAI will immediately begin work with SAAC and its board to bring the news of this partnership to SAAC members. SAAC members are invited to join the SAAC board and PPAI leadership at the board installation dinner on March 7 at Café Santorini in Old Town Pasadena. Details are available on the SAAC website.

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Promotional Products Association Southwest (PPAS) is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization.

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