Alphabroder Acquires Ash City As first reported in a Breaking News Alert earlier today, alphabroder (asi/34063) has acquired fellow apparel supplier Ash City Worldwide (asi/37127). Read Article
Financial terms of the transaction were not released, but the deal unites two of the 10 largest suppliers in the ad specialty market. Alphabroder, the newly re-named company that had been Broder Bros., told Counselor that the deal is complementary in that it unites alphabroder's vast distribution capabilities with Ash City's diverse product line.
"This transformational acquisition creates an industry leader that delivers a comprehensive selection of promotional apparel with an unmatched distribution network and customer support," said Norman Hullinger, CEO of alphabroder. "For over 35 years, Ash City has demonstrated a commitment to excellence through its innovative products, strong customer service and expanding product portfolio."
In addition to helping to expand its product line, alphabroder views the deal as speeding up its international expansion plans. "The addition of Ash City is our first step toward international expansion and further secures our position as the North American industry leader and innovator in the promotional apparel space," said Dan Pantano, president of alphabroder.
As part of the deal, Doug Hayes, president and CEO of Ash City, will become president of alphabroder, Canada, and Rob Meier will also remain as CFO of alphabroder, Canada. "Together, the combination of these two businesses is the natural evolution for our company and the industry," said Hayes. "We look forward to better serving each of our customer bases as a result of the strengths inherent in combining our operational capabilities, product portfolios and geographic footprints. I look forward to joining the entire alphabroder team as we expand our market share and product penetration in both the United States and Canada."
Following the transaction, Ash City's founder, Garry Hurvitz, is leaving the company. "I have spent over 35 years building Ash City into a leading corporate apparel supplier in North America," Hurvitz said. "I am excited to move on to the next stage in my career, and take particular comfort in knowing that alphabroder will be providing our best-in-class product to a vastly expanded customer base throughout North America."
This is alphabroder's second deal since equity firm Littlejohn & Co. recapitalized the company in 2012 and assumed control of its board of directors. The company acquired Imprints Wholesale (asi/62486) late in 2012. Including the addition of Ash City, alphabroder now has more than $1 billion in annual sales. "This strategic acquisition is another important step in alphabroder's continued evolution over the past 18 months," said David Simon, managing director of Littlejohn & Co. "We look forward to additional opportunities to support alphabroder's future growth as it seeks to build its portfolio."
Counselor Honors Distributor Choice Award Winners
At a ceremony during ASI Orlando, Counselor unveiled this year’s Distributor Choice Award winners – the industry’s top suppliers in 60 product categories. Read Article
Seattle-based iClick (asi/62124) won the top award as 2014 Counselor Supplier of the Year, leading a group of 42 total companies that were honored. This year's awards also included two new categories – children's apparel, won by alphabroder (asi/34063) and party products, won by WOWLine (asi/98360).
Click here to see the entire group of award winners, as voted on by distributors.
PSI Show Attendance Up 20% On First Day
The 52nd annual PSI Show, Europe’s largest promotional products event, kicked off yesterday to crowds 20% higher than last year’s opening day. Read Article
"I am very happy today because we succeeded in presenting this year's PSI Show with an entirely new look and feel, showcasing new creative approaches and the latest trends in design and fashion," said Michael Freter, the show's managing director. "The result is impressive: an amazing wealth of new formats that demonstrate how sexy promotional products can be."
This year's 852 exhibitors, down from 962 in 2013, are from 33 countries. "Yes, the show is smaller from an exhibitor standpoint, but I've been exhibiting at this show for many years and this is one of the most successful," said Rene Adda, owner of the Paris-based supplier Lexon. "Because some of my larger competitors aren't here, I'm getting much greater traffic."
Albert van der Veen, CEO of Xindao, one of PSI's largest exhibitors, noted that the number of catalogs sold (in Europe it's common for suppliers to charge for their catalogs and samples at trade shows) to attendees on the first day of the show doubled over last year. And John Lynch, CEO of Krakow-based Lynka Promotional Products, noted that his booth traffic was up "about 25%" YTD.
ASI’s president & CEO, Tim Andrews, will be delivering an address later today to a group of international promotional professionals, detailing the state of the North American ad specialty marketplace and sharing highlights from ASI’s latest Global Ad Impressions Study, which surveyed how end-users feel about promo products. The survey was conducted worldwide, including in European cities like Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Paris and London. In that vein, at yesterday's open press conference, Patrick Politze, chairman of GWW – the General Association of the German Promotional Products Industry – noted that the German promo market had 3.4 billion euros in sales in 2013, down 1% from the previous year.
The 53rd annual PSI Show will be held from January 7-9, 2015. For more information, go to www.psi-network.de.
Counselor Commentary: Can You Always Bounce Back?
At The ASI Show in Orlando this week, Barbara Corcoran made a point that all business professionals should heed. Read Article
Corcoran, along with Kevin O'Leary, two of the stars of ABC reality show Shark Tank, appeared as keynote speakers on Tuesday and provided a ballroom of more than 1,200 attendees with smart business advice for the New Year.
When asked what makes a company successful, Corcoran offered up a response that should be posted on the walls of every business today. "To turn an idea into a business, you need an entrepreneur that simply loves being smacked down and getting back up again," she said. "They just need to relish that, and know that their next opportunity is going to be the big one."
Do you relish the smack down? Most people don't. But some are able to embrace it, laugh at it, learn from it, and come right back again for more. As Corcoran told the audience, the key to success in business today is flexibility combined with the ability to overcome any adversity that comes your way. And, as 2014 is getting underway, it's an important message to always remember. Success isn't always determined by the best product or the best service or the best marketing plan. It can often come directly from an entrepreneur's vision and drive. "The most successful entrepreneurs are so driven to succeed that they don't let anything get in their way," Corcoran told the hosts of ASI Radio (www.asicentral.com/radio) during a recent interview. "And, they're flexible enough with their plans so that they don't ever miss good opportunities."
The ability to capitalize on opportunities when they're in front of you is vital right now. The economy has recovered, clients are increasing their marketing budgets, companies are hiring. Opportunities for sales of promotional products are plentiful. Are you driven and flexible enough to capitalize on them?
ADP: Strong Job Gains In December
A new report found that private businesses added 238,000 jobs in December, the latest encouraging sign for the labor market heading into 2014. The employment report from payroll processor ADP beat economist expectations, ranking as the strongest month of hiring in over a year.
"Job growth meaningfully accelerated and is now over 200,000 per month. Job gains are broad-based across industries, most notably in construction and manufacturing," said Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, which helps ADP compile the report. "It appears that businesses are growing more confident and increasing their hiring."
Small businesses (defined as between 1 and 49 employees) added 108,000 jobs last month, ADP said. Mid-size companies added 59,000 and large companies added 71,000 positions. Construction clocked in with a surprising 48,000 additional jobs, the sector's best month since 2006. Professional and business service companies contributed 53,000 jobs, the largest gain in a year.
"This is encouraging news that hopefully bodes well for 2014," said Carlos Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP, referring to the overall job growth in December.
ADP uses its actual payroll data to create its report. Tomorrow, the Labor Department will release its monthly employment survey. Economists expect the government's report to show 195,000 jobs were created in December by businesses and government agencies. Unemployment is expected to remain at 7%. Zandi says the U.S. is still far from "full employment," which he defines as an unemployment rate of 5.5%. He expects the U.S. won't reach that goal until 2016.
ASI Orlando Video Recap
The ASI Show Orlando kicked off 2014 in style, and Counselor's cameras were there to capture all the highlights. We interviewed the big winners at the Counselor Distributor Choice Awards ceremony, canvassed the show floor to find the hottest new products, reveled in the Disney magic at the Animal Kingdom gala, and caught up with keynoter Barbara Corcoran, one of the stars of ABC's hit program, Shark Tank. If you missed any of the action, or just want to relive the sights and sounds, check out our complete ASI Orlando video coverage here.
Safeguard Distributor Acquires NCF Graphic Solutions Counselor Top 40 distributor Safeguard Business Systems (asi/316203) has announced that its affiliate firm, Schob & Schob, has acquired NCF Graphic Solutions (NCF). Financial terms of the deal, which was finalized on January 2, were not disclosed. The agreement was completed as part of Safeguard's Business Acquisitions and Mergers program, which allows affiliated distributors financial support in growing their businesses.
"The two businesses complement one another," said Greg Schob, president of Schob & Schob. "NCF Graphic Solutions is a well-standing company with a large number of loyal clients, but with minimal promotional products, therefore leaving a great opportunity for cross-selling new products."
Safeguard provided transactional consulting in connection with the deal. The agreement, an asset purchase, focused on customer information, lists and equipment. The previous owner of NCF will retain a role in the company and assist in the transition and future growth of the business, Safeguard said. For more than 25 years, Santa Barbara-based NCF has been supplying custom-printed business forms and promotional items to clients throughout the U.S.
ASI Radio: How To Win Media Coverage
On this week's Tuesday Morning Show, the hosts gave callers advice on how to boost their PR efforts in 2014. How can you write compelling, but straightforward press releases? What types of topics are TV stations and local newspapers most interested in? How can social media help you stand out?
Click here to listen to the complete call-in segment. If you missed any part of the radio show, a recording is now available at www.asicentral.com/radio. And, remember to join us on Tuesday, January 14, for our next broadcast. Log on at 10:30 a.m. ET to listen to the show and hear your voice on the air.
Nominate Now For Counselor’s Hot List
Are you doing something unique, hip, fun or trendy in the industry right now? Do you know somebody who is?
Counselor is looking for nominations of people for its annual Hot List. We're on the lookout for anyone in the industry who is taking an interesting approach to business, shaking up the status quo or simply networking like a maniac at all hours of the night. We're in search of those people who are making the industry a unique marketplace that's fun and energetic.
Send an e-mail by Friday, January 31, to Karen Akers at firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why your nominee should be recognized on Counselor's Hot List. And, please make sure to include a picture of the person you're nominating. Thanks!
Ball Pro Inc. (asi/38120) has acquired the patent for the Scramble Pic from Edna Bingham of Scramble Ease, effective January 1, 2014. The Scramble Pic, which offers 42 square inches of full-color advertising space on golf cart windows, was created by Bingham, and was primarily designed with the scramble format of golf in mind.
Bullet (asi/42424) has launched 96 new items for 2014. For more information on the newest products and services, visit www.bulletline.com.
Prime Line (asi/79530) has enabled 21 pages of its 2014 catalog with video or 3-D animation, which can be viewed with a smartphone or tablet using the free Actable app. The company has also integrated image recognition technology into its digital catalog version. To access this content, download the Actable app and click on this link: http://bit.ly/1iPDtko.
Proforma (asi/300094) completed a $1 million digital signage project for a commercial real estate developer specializing in premium outlet malls nationwide. Jeff Bowles and Jeff Levy, co-owners of Proforma Promotionally Yours in Kansas City, KS, worked on the project.
SanMar (asi84863) will now be offering a dozen new bags in its Nike Golf line. In addition, the company also is offering two new polos from the Nike Golf line, plus items for the OGIO line in both polos, and bags. For details, visit www.sanmar.com.
Stormtech Performance (asi/89869) has announced a decoration partnership agreement with Raised Edge Inc., based out of Aurora, Ontario. The deal will allow Stormtech Performance to offer a larger variety of decoration methods including debossing, embossing, laser etching, heat transfers, tackle twill, and more.
Sweda Company LLC (asi/90305) will be providing a free recharging station for mobile devices at the PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, held from January 15–17, 2014. At the station, attendees will be able to use the new Ice Bang mobile power bank to charge their devices while walking the show floor.
Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990) has announced that it is celebrating its 100th birthday this year. The company has also announced it has reached an exclusive partnership deal with InCase™ Tech Accessories.
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