Networking Rules at VTS
Each booth at ASI's latest virtual trade show averaged 722 visitors and each distributor spent about 80 minutes enjoying the show. Plus, 5,000 one-to-one chats took place. Find out more.
Get Trendy with Tailgating Games and Gear
Check out ASI's first-ever Top 10 list of games and products sure to heat up the asphalt. Find out more.
WorkflowOne Files Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Citing a need to restructure senior debt, the parent company of Counselor Top 40 distributor WorkflowOne (asi/333647) has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Virginia, claiming the move “is of a narrow scope” that won’t bring any “disruption to business.” The filing became necessary, the company says, after restructuring negotiations with one of its significant debtholders failed. “We’re being proactive and we’ve voluntarily filed,” said Mary Ann Kabel, a WorkflowOne spokesperson, in an interview this morning with Counselor. “Our doors are staying open for business and we expect to emerge from this as a very viable company.”
The filing, formally made by WF Capital Holdings Inc., Workflow Management Inc. and other affiliated holdings, lists both company assets and debt of up to $500 million. Immediately after filing for bankruptcy, the company unveiled a restructuring plan designed to alleviate bank debt, satisfy more than 50,000 reported creditors and exit from court protection. According to court documents, the company’s 30 largest unsecured creditors are owed more than $40 million. Among those creditors are Branch Banking and Trust (owed $20 million), private-equity firm The Carlyle Group ($12.5 million) and Tenet Healthcare ($768,000).
In a letter to customers dated September 29, 2010, WorkflowOne management maintains that delivering the highest-quality products and services “remains our top priority” and clients “will receive orders on time and as specified.” The letter also provides customers a toll-free number to a restructuring information hotline. WorkflowOne executives also recently provided a separate letter to each of its 2,400 U.S. employees, writing that “we fully expect…there will be no changes to pay or health and welfare benefits.” Additionally, Kabel said today that the bankruptcy filing is not expected to produce layoffs at the company.
Based in Dayton, OH, WorkflowOne is ranked by Counselor as the 13th largest distributor in the ad specialty industry, with 2009 revenues of $82.8 million.
California Law Limits Cadmium Following a national trend, a new California law greatly restricts the amount of cadmium allowable in children’s jewelry, creating what amounts to a limited ban of the controversial metal in two of the nation’s largest ports. The legislation, signed this week by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, restricts the manufacturing, shipping and sale of children's jewelry or components that contain more than 300 parts per million or .03% of the heavy metal. “Cadmium is a known cancer-causing agent and there is no reason for our most vulnerable citizens – our children – to be exposed to this highly toxic metal,” said CA State Senator Fran Pavley, who authored the bill.
Cadmium, which has been used primarily by Chinese manufacturers as a substitute for lead, can cause severe health problems, damaging kidneys and possibly even stunting the development of young brains. The metal has come under intense scrutiny since January, when testing showed a single piece of imported children’s jewelry was 91% cadmium. California’s cadmium law, which goes into effect in January 2012, applies specifically to jewelry intended for children six years old and under. The new law will also limit cadmium-laced goods that are shipped into the large ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
In the wake of the cadmium scare, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a flurry of recent recalls. Hundreds of thousands of necklaces and bracelets sold at stores like Walmart, Claire's, Justice and Limited Too have been recalled over cadmium concerns. CPSC Chair Inez Tenenbaum has also told parents to throw away any cheap metal jewelry, in hopes of limiting potential health risks.
California is the fourth state this year, following Connecticut, Illinois and Minnesota, to pass a law that restricts cadmium. Meanwhile, the CPSC continues to prepare new standards to guide manufactures on the future use of cadmium in products.
Video Report: News Of The Week In this episode of Counselor's Industry Update video, we report on a supplier that’s chosen a new go-to-market strategy and reveal survey data that shows positive small-business outlooks for the remainder of 2010. Plus, will U.S. government pressure impact the value of China’s yuan? Watch the video now to find out.
Click here to see the trends and to watch Counselor PromoGram’s Industry Update.
If you have any news you’d like to see covered on Industry Update or in Counselor PromoGram, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. House Passes Bill That Threatens China The Unites States House of Representatives passed a measure yesterday that would allow the Commerce Department to impose new tariffs on imported goods coming in from countries with undervalued currencies. The bill is mostly aimed at China, which the U.S. government believes has been manipulating its currency, the yuan, to keep its value artificially low. This has the effect of cheapening the cost of goods being imported from China, and of taking manufacturing away from U.S. firms.
The bill passed the House by a vote of 348 to 79, and the Senate is expected to begin debate on the measure after it reconvenes in November following the midterm elections. "We can talk, or we can act. International trade is a high stakes, cut-throat business, and every time we simply talk, the other side acts, and every time they act, an American loses a job," said Representative Xavier Becerra, (D-CA).
China said earlier this year that it would allow the yuan to trade in a wider range against the dollar. But, after an initial increase in value, the currency’s value hasn’t shifted much at all. The lack of appreciation has now caused frustrated lawmakers in the U.S. to act.
"We must take decisive action against China's currency manipulation and other economically injurious behavior," said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY). "China is merely pretending to take significant steps on its currency. This sucker's game is never going to stop unless we finally call their bluff."
Podcast: Angry Clients Can Equal Opportunities On Tuesday’s ASI Internet Radio Show, the hosts took questions from callers who were looking for advice on how they could appease their most difficult clients. Have a customer that tends to berate you or your staff when something goes wrong? Need strategies for getting even more sales from your angriest clients? Get all the answers in this clip from the show.
Click hereto listen to the difficult-customer segment from Tuesday’s show.
If you’d like to check out a recording of the whole online radio show, go to www.asicentral.com/radio. And, don’t forget to join us next Tuesday, October 5, for our next broadcast. Log on to www.asicentral.com/radio at 10:30 am ET and give us a call at 215-953-4979 or e-mail us at email@example.com to participate on the show. We want to hear from you.
Small Businesses Expect 2010 Growth
The majority of small business owners anticipate their 2010 revenues will exceed their 2009 sales, according to a new survey. The data, released by the Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute, shows 51% of small business owners believe their year-over-year sales will increase in 2010. A year ago, only 32% expected better sales in 2009 compared to 2008. “Many government officials and economists believe the nation’s recovery from the recession depends on small businesses; thus it’s heartening to see that small business owners have a positive outlook for [the rest of] 2010,” said Mark Wolf, director of Guardian Life.
Consistent with their optimism for sales growth, the survey also shows 45% of small business owners plan to expand their companies within the next two years. In addition, results show companies with 10 or more employees are most likely to expect growth in 2010. “As companies reach a critical mass of 10 or more employees, they gain a level of stability and resourcefulness that helps them succeed, even in tough times,” said John Krubski, research advisor to Guardian Life.
Within individual markets, data shows environmental companies (65%) and health care companies (60%) have the highest expectation for 2010 revenue increases. Conversely, hotels and restaurants (58%), retail companies (57%) and financial firms (57%) have the highest percentage of small business owners who expect 2010 sales to be the same or lower than 2009.
The Institute’s findings also show small business owners outperformed their own revenue estimates for 2009. Only 32% of those surveyed last year expected their 2009 revenues to be better than their 2008 sales. Yet, in evaluating their actual performance in 2009, 39% reported a revenue increase over 2008. “Our research indicates that small business owners are typically conservative in estimating the financial prospects for their companies, so this upbeat projection bodes well for the U.S. economy,” said Wolf.
New Factors Announced For CreditConnect Scores
Starting October 1, payments made for ASI services will be reflected in a distributor’s CreditConnect score.
Why is this important to distributors? The majority of ASI distributors pay their bills on time. These positive pay habits will now be reflected in their credit score, which will help distributors negotiate better credit terms with suppliers. It will also help new distributors establish an all-important credit history and make suppliers feel more secure about extending credit to newcomers.
Why is this important to suppliers? Because they’ll have more credit information than ever before available on ASI distributors. Payment on ASI services like ESP and LogoMall will help give a picture of the health of distributor operations and will ultimately allow suppliers to offer better terms to qualified distributors and extend even more credit.
Recently, ASI surveyed a sample of distributors to see how industry credit and credit terms were affecting their business. A majority of respondents were owners or primary contacts at their company, and 74% said getting good credit terms is a vital part of staying viable and competitive in the marketplace.
Distributors with questions about their ASI payment data can call customer support at (800) 546-1350 and press option 1.
Honoring The Industry’s Best Places To Work
One of the most anticipated lists in the industry is now live. Counselor’s Best Places to Work, the ranking of industry companies that were judged by their own employees as the best companies to work for, can now be found on our website and a special new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BestPlacestoWork.
Click here now to view the full list of 75 companies, and to read a profile of the number-one Best Place to Work: Dacasso (asi/48125), the Gainesville, FL-based supplier.
And, make sure to join the Counselor Best Places to Work community by going to www.facebook.com/BestPlacestoWork. Add your own thoughts to the conversation about what makes a great workplace. Right now, we’ve asked people for their stories and pictures from their favorite corporate summer outing this year. Join us now to show the industry why your company had the coolest outdoor event this summer.
In the News
Crystal D (asi/47759) named its third quarter WOW Champs at the monthly company meeting on September 9. The champions included Michael Vitali for commitment, Kay Larsen for respect, TeriKay Thein for integrity, Corey Wilson for passion and Kim Kiefat for quality.
R.S. Owens (asi/75530) has awarded employee and custom department volunteer Trina Winn and finance team Milka Ahlstrand, Agnes Symanska and Pat Drewganis with the Above and Beyond award. Barbara Cassata was also honored for 50 years of service with the company and was thrown an all-employee surprise party.
Sportsman Cap Network (asi/88877) has introduced a video web campaign that features Morgan Woolard, Miss Oklahoma, as part of the company’s 2011 catalog launch. Each catalog comes with a barcode, which distributors can use to download the video via their mobile phones.
People On The Move
Bags by Troy (asi/92252) has hired Steve Belosi as its multi-line representative in the Midwest including OH, IN, IL, MI, IA, KS, MO, MN, WI, SD, ND and NE.
SanMar Corporation (asi/84863) has appointed Russ Wenter as the company’s industrial laundry territory manager for the western U.S. and Phil Osborn as the industrial laundry territory manager in the east..
Vitronic Promotional Group (asi/93990) has announced the addition of three inside sales representatives: Amanda Jecklin representing IA, MN and WI; David Yeager representing OH, PA, WV and KY; and Tony Kruessel representing IL, MI and IN.
NEW! USB Sticks from AZX Sport ASI/30250
Features: 512MB - 16GB memory size available. Large variety of
colors and shapes. Ability to pre-load files onto USB.
Construction: Full color domed, Laser engraved
and pad printing available.
Lead Time: 1-3 business days on stock USB. 10 business days on
non stock USB. Minimum order 25pcs.
For other new and creative products,
visit the Product Central section on ASICentral.com.
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REGISTRATIONANDHOUSING IS OPEN FORALL2011ASISHOWS
As the economy continues to turn around and ad specialty sales increase, it is more important than ever to be prepared for the new sales year!
From the industry’s top suppliers and best-in-class education to an unprecedented list of keynotes and special events, you’ll find it all at The ASI Show.
ASI Orlando (Jan. 23-25): The biggest event on the East Coast will feature a dynamic Keynote by actor and activist Michael J. Fox (co-sponsored by Evans Mfg., asi/52840, and Showdown Displays, asi/87188), as well as a brand-new Gala at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™.ASI distributor decorator members who register by tomorrow, October 1, forASI Orlando can order a FREE ticket to Harry Potter!
ASI Dallas (Feb. 16-18): Only at the largest show in the Southwest can you hear an empowering Keynote by former First Lady Laura W. Bush(sponsored by Pepco Poms, asi/77280).
ASI San Diego (May 18-20): The newest event to serve the West Coast will be home to the 2011 Counselor Top 40 awards, as well as feature a private performance by Emmy® award-winning comedian Wayne Brady.
ASI Chicago (July 19-21): Local celebrity and football coach Mike Ditka will be delivering a moving Keynote at the largest show of the summer (sponsored by BamBams, asi/38228).
DON’T MISS THE 2nd ANNUALASI WOMEN’S SUMMIT Register today for the 2nd annual ASI Women’s Summit taking place on February 18, 2011, during ASI Dallas, at the Adolphus Hotel’s French Room and enjoy an event like no other! (Co-sponsored by Fields Mfg., asi/54100, J. Charles Crystalworks, asi/62985, Logo Mats, asi/67849)
You’ll have the exclusive opportunity to network with other women professionals in the ad specialty industry, as well as hear a motivational Keynote by former First Lady Laura Bush.
The afternoon schedule will feature registration and networking from noon until 1:30 p.m., where you’ll be able to share stories with colleagues while mingling with Mrs. Bush; a sit-down lunch with Keynote from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.; an interactive hot topics discussion from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. and an awards presentation highlighting the “Top 10 Women to Watch” from 3:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Register today at www.asishow.com. All attendees will receive a free autographed copy of Mrs. Bush’s new book, Spoken from the Heart, a New York Times #1 best seller.
The following are the dates and locations for The ASI Show in 2011:
Orlando, January 23-25, 2011
Dallas, February 16-18, 2011
New York, March 22-24, 2011
San Diego, May 18-20, 2011
Chicago, July 19-21, 2011