|Vol 0536, November 26, 2008|
Quarter Industry Sales Up 3.4%
Frank Seidelmann, owner of New Jersey-based Sherri Advertising (asi/325490) is one distributor that reported slow sales in Q1 2008: "My customers are insurance agents and service people that have to use their vehicles to do business and the economy is hitting them and in turn it's hitting us," he said. On the other side of the coin is North Carolina-based The Solutions! Group (asi/329812), which does much of its business with incentive programs and company stores. "We are seeing tremendous growth in sales," says President Kathleen Simon. "Right now we are seeing an increase in our first quarter of 14.18%. We are very, very pleased and see nothing but bright things on the horizon."
Chuck Fandos, president of Top 40 distributor Gateway CDI (asi/202515), thinks the 3.4% increase is an accurate reflection of industry sales – and almost exactly matches his company's own 1st quarter figures. But he also understands why some distributors would be surprised by the figure. "I would call the market a little uncertain right now," he says. "There's a lot of activity but not a lot of decision-making going on right now. But I think last year was a tremendous year and the fact that Gateway is up 3% is pretty good because we were up 15% last year. The suppliers in our industry that I've been talking to say their business is strong. I think the industry is fairly healthy compared with the rest of the economy."
Introduce New Health Care Bill
Relief may be on the way for small business owners and the self-employed looking for affordable health insurance. Looking to combat the massive coverage costs, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced a new bill last week. The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Act will give businesses with less than 100 employees the chance to join other small businesses to form insurance pools that will allow them to obtain lower rates. "People are less likely to receive health coverage through their employer today than in 2000," said Durbin in a statement. "And the number of uninsured Americans has soared to 47 million, largely due to the drop in employer-sponsored coverage." Similar bills for proposed association health plans or AHPs have stalled in the past.
This new bill aims to establish purchasing pools, through which owners can band together to get better rates and coverage, by 2011. It will also create tax credits for small business owners that provide health care. Additionally, it will prohibit a health ratings status that currently allows insurers to levy large rate increases if an employee gets sick.
For many in the ad specialty industry, the passing of the SHOP Act would be welcome relief. "Something has got to give. Health insurance is the biggest pain," says Joanne Miner, president of Minuteman Press (asi/377305). "It is my second largest expense after payroll. I'm part of a franchise and they can't even get us good health insurance. They offer something, but it's horrible."
Andrea Pearman, president of Diversified Marketing (asi/181350), says the concept being introduced as law actually works. "We've been doing something like it for five years. It is wonderful," she says. "We're part of an EPO that was offered to us through associations. I'd highly recommend it. Our insurance is better than some of the bigger employers in the area."An EPO insurance plan is a network of medical care providers who have entered into an agreement to offer health insurance to subscribers like Pearman. The SHOP Act will offer nationwide as well as statewide pools that businesses can more easily join to have greater purchasing power.
Trend Report From Asian Trade Shows
eco-friendly and green items continued to remain strong, and
not just with apparel, either. One company, Suzhou Guanghong
Environment-protection Technology Co. Ltd., lauded its bamboo-fiber
plant pot as biodegradable and great for the garden. Another
manufacturer, Stitchman Corp., had shelves of organic cotton
tote bags stuffed with balloons. One exporter, Vijay Shah, says
he sees the eco-friendly movement gaining even more momentum
each year. "Due to the
global warming issue all over the world, people are becoming conscious
about eco products and bags are a most important item because supermarkets
and shopping centers are giving away plastic bags to each and every
one of their customers," he says.
Stitches Roadshow Coverage
Rollender caught up with some speakers, exhibitors and attendees to find out some of the latest trends in apparel decoration. Fred Lebow, director of nonwovens at Cotswold Industries, was one of the panelists at the morning education session, "How to Take Your Decorating Business to the Next Level." Click here to listen to an interview with him about some of decorator attendees' most pressing questions, including: When do I buy a single- versus multi-head machine? Should I take my embroidery business on the road? How important is it to find a niche? Click here to listen to the podcast.Also on the minds of attendees were strategies for diversifying and marketing their businesses to current and prospective clients. Peg Bowles, owner of Initial Impressions, talked to Rollender about how she plans to diversify her embroidery business with rhinestones, add non-embroiderable products to her wares and keep attracting customers with her low-cost blog. Click here to listen to the podcast.
Herb Stone, owner of Miracles for Business, died on March 31 after a long illness due to a stroke two years ago. He was 78. Stone was a long-time industry veteran who mentored many industry professionals. He entered the industry with American Advertising Specialties Company in the early 1950s before leaving to start his own distributorship, Enjoyment and later, Miracles for Business, where he often joked, "It's a miracle we're in business." He was one of the first distributors to sell oversized Christmas stockings and helped popularize restaurant towelettes. He was also president of the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York from 1965-1966.
"Herb was probably one of the nicest human beings you'd ever want to meet and a true innovator," says Larry Sitten, executive vice president of Pencoa (asi/77040). "He was a guy with an endless sense of humor and very smart when it came to promotions. A bad word never came out of his mouth. I can't say enough nice things about him."
Stone was an avid tennis player. He started a tennis doubles group on Long Island and helped raise money through another tennis related group he founded called Singles for Charity. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; sons, Larry and Ian; and numerous grandchildren. Donations can be made to his favorite charity, The Ronald McDonald House.
Your Company For The Best Places To Work Contest
For the first time ever, Counselor is setting out to identify the industry companies that employees simply love to work for. These are the distributors and suppliers that have a loyal work force and that provide a work environment which employees want to go to every morning.
Counselor will be unveiling its Best Places To Work issue in September, and it will undoubtedly include an elite list of industry companies. Do you want your company to be considered? Getting involved is easy – and it's completely free to participate. The only necessary qualification is that a company has at least 15 employees. To nominate your company, or any others in the market that you think deserve to be recognized, simply go to www.qmrinc.com/nomination/asi. Also, there's no risk to participating. Only the honorees – those companies with the best scores from the survey – will be published in Counselor.
So, don't delay. Go to www.qmrinc.com/nomination/asi and register your company to be considered for one of the most exclusive lists in the ad specialty market: Counselor's Best Places To Work. The deadline is April 30.
AlphaGraphics Inc. (asi/373000) announced that it is the first U.S. print and visual communications franchisor to receive the Forest Stewardship Council Multi-Site Chain of Custody Certificate, which ensures that paper and wood products are purchased from sustainable sources.
Commotion Promotions Ltd. (asi/166010) has been inducted into the Ranking Arizona Hall of Fame as they were recognized as the #1 ranked company in their category for 10 years in a row.
iPROMOTEu (asi/232119) announced the winners of its first annual DunkFest: Top Distributor and Overall Champion – Steve Kennedy of Brand 1 Promotions (Indiana), $1,000; Top Supplier – Cole Lohman of Target Graphics, $500; and Top Service Provider – Barry Melito of ASI, $500.Leed's (asi/66887) has launched the Gusto! line of affordable products for $10 and under. The line includes more than 250 items covering everything from ready-to-mail envelopes to computer compatible desk accessories. And in honor of Earth Day, Leed's has donated a tree for each full-time Leed's employee. This builds on the EcoSmart platform launched in November 2007, where a tree is planted through American Forests for every EcoSmart imprint order placed. Between the trees planted on behalf of employees and those generated from EcoSmart orders, there have been a total of 2,407 trees planted since November.
On The Move
CFS Promotions for Now! (asi/42989) has hired Kristie Cummings as a regional sales manager.
Del Rey (asi/49120) has named Dudley Swain as the new director of marketing.
ESP PROMO has named Sylvain Jette as sales manager in Quebec and Sharron Birtch as sales manager in the greater Toronto area.
Gibco Inc. (asi/56743) has a new owner/president in Cami S. Chandler, daughter of company founders William and Julie Gibson, who started the company in 1984.
Hub Pen Co. (asi/61966) has named Bill Nault as sales executive.
Sanders Mfg Co. (asi/84820) has hired Lacey Lee as sales and marketing administrator.Vernon Company (asi/351700) has hired Craig Meadows as district manager and Sandra Ilson as account rep in the eastern region; and Theresa Hatcher as account rep in the central region.
|PRODUCT OF THE WEEK|
other new and creative products,
DEADLINE FOR ASI NEW YORK EXTENDED
TO THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 25
ASI New York will feature 500 top suppliers like SanMar, Bodek & Rhodes, Norwood, BIC Graphic and Logomark (plus, more than 100 companies who are not exhibiting at any other show in the Northeast), over 45 free cutting-edge education sessions and three free Keynote presentations, including a new program by New York real estate queen Barbara Corcoran [http://asishow.com/NewYork/NY08KeynoteD.html]. ASI New York will also feature exciting special events, such as the prestigious Counselor Awards and discounted tickets to the Broadway musical Hairspray (sponsored by SnugZ USA, asi/88060).
ASI distributor members can benefit from a number of specials, including a free hotel room or a $50 travel reimbursement (including taxi, train, ferry, plane, parking and tollbooth costs).
Register today for ASI New York at www.asishow.com. And, remember to reserve your hotel room as space is selling out quickly. There is no better place to discover all that is NEW and INNOVATIVE in the ad specialty industry. Call 877-ASI-SHOW for details.
IS BUILDING FOR ASI CHICAGO — THE
LARGEST SHOW OF THE SUMMER
Register today at www.asishow.com and plan on enjoying an action-filled, three day schedule featuring two exhibit days (July 23-24) and the acclaimed ASI Show Business Development Forum (July 22). ASI Chicago will deliver more than 800 leading exhibitors, dozens of innovative education sessions, three free Keynotes including a new program, entitled Win All the Business You Want by Maribeth Kuzmeski and fun networking, including the popular Gala Celebration at Excalibur. (ASI distributor members who register by May 2 can request up to two free tickets.)
Visit www.asishow.com for more information or call 877-ASI-SHOW. ASI distributor and decorator members can register for free and ASI distributor members can get a free hotel room!
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2008:
Plus, don't miss the ASI Advantages Roadshow, the industry's #1 traveling show. Visit www.advantagesroadshow.com for the complete 18-week schedule!
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