“Where Do We Go From Here?” a feature in the June issue of PPB, asked the heads of several industry distributors of varying sizes, how their companies were handling the fallout of the COVID-19 lockdown, what they expected for their business in the months and year ahead, and how they were preparing for recovery. 

Interesting variety of input. I agree with those projecting 15- to 20-percent negative sales. Sadly, I think Audrey Devenport [president of Trademarks Promotional Products, who in answering the question ‘When do you see your sales returning to pre-lockdown levels?,’ responded, ‘I don’t see this recovering until fall and that depends if schools, colleges and sports open up again.’] is closer to the mark.

William Wood
LHW, LLC DBA Promos With Imprint
Irvine, California
PPAI 705414, D1

I am in agreement with those who believe promo sales will not fully recover until fiscal year 2022. The caveat to consider though is if we add all PPE sales into the promo pool, even the blank disposable masks, blank sanitizers, etc., the pain will not be as bad. I would agree with the expectation of a 15- to 20-percent decline, even if PPE is added to the mix.

Jim Franklyn
Vice President of Business Development
Swag Promo
Atlanta, Georgia
PPAI 562712, D5


In response to COVID-19 and its impact on business and the promotional products industry, PPAI waived all education and certification fees for members and are offered 50-percent off those fees for associates through June 30. By the end of April 2020, 687 people had registered for certifications—a 200-percent increase over the first quarter of 2020, and a 70-percent increase in certifications earned during all of 2019. And in April alone, 281 people completed their certifications—144 percent more than in the first quarter of 2020 and a 36-percent increase over all certifications earned in 2019.

Thank you and PPAI for offering the education classes free during this crisis. This has been on my bucket list for many years. As a multi-line rep for almost 29 years, we were never really encouraged to achieve this as we were typically setting up for shows or working them during the education time slots. I knew I probably wouldn’t get to attempt it until the kids were grown and gone. As the years went by, there were new obstacles. Now, at iPROMOTEu, they encourage us to get our TAS [Trained Advertising Specialist], at the very least. That was my first goal, and then my CAS [Certified Advertising Specialist] and then my MAS [Master Advertising Specialist], which I accomplished earlier this evening. The encouragement and reminders from you and PPAI, along with the support and encouragement from Cliff Quicksell, Les Dorfman and iPROMOTEu, made all the difference in the world. 

Nancy L. Jolly, MAS
Business Development Manager
Madisonville, Texas
PPAI 218870, D12


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.