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2011 Marvin Spike Lifetime Achievement Award: Bob Lederer, Prime Line
By Andraya Vantrease
June 2011

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After climbing the ladder to the president’s seat at Hit Promotional Products, Bob Lederer’s desire to own his own business got the best of him. In 1980, after a 17-year run with Hit, Bob began Prime Line (asi/79540) and has worked tirelessly to grow it into the Top 40 Supplier that it is today.

Having solid relationships in the industry was a plus for Lederer when developing Prime, but he credits the company’s success to its customer service and extensive line of products. “No matter where I went, I kept a new product in my briefcase,” Lederer says. “Distributors don’t want the same old product and I made sure I always had something new for them.”

With about 50 years of experience in the industry, Lederer is seen as a mentor, one who has taught many new employees and even competitors how to be successful. He has a feel for what will sell and what people need in order to sell: romance copy, pricing on the item, where to get it, how to get it, how it should be packaged so that it feels and looks like a gift, how much to sell it for, whether to include batteries, next-day shipping, same-day shipping.

“He surrounded himself with smart people who knew things that he didn’t, and he helped them and mentored them to spread their wings in a way that was mutually beneficial,” says his son, Jeff Lederer, who is president of Prime today. “He always had a way to build that trust with people and everything he did, once the competition saw how successful it was, they would do it too, which changed the industry.”

In starting Prime, Lederer’s vision was to become the super store of the industry, a one-stop solution to all ad specialty needs. And although fairly ubiquitous today, these powerhouse stores will only continue to grow and innovate, ultimately making for a more prosperous industry as a whole. “The industry has undergone many, many changes since I’ve been in it,” says Lederer, who was named Counselor’s Person of the Year in 1988 and Counselor’s International Person of the Year in 2002. “We’re looking to have our best year yet and invest in equipment, new products and people. It’s no secret, that’s all it takes.” – AV

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