PPAI Pyramid Awards: Supplier Stars
Each year, PPAI invites distributor members to weigh in on suppliers in the industry and vote for the best, based on quality of communication, customer service, products, decorating and packaging.
Despite the challenges of the past few years – especially supply chain breakdowns that delayed raw materials and finished goods – the industry persevered. In particular, these 24 companies continued to deliver quality products and service that impressed their clients, and their consistent excellence won them top honors as this year’s PPAI Supplier Stars.
The Supplier Star is one of four PPAI Pyramid awards, the industry’s pinnacle of achievement now in its 65th year and sponsored by Pacesetter Awards. Distributors cast their votes for one supplier in each of 12 categories. This annual competition is open to all PPAI supplier members in good standing who update their sales volume every two years as required and maintain a SAGE supplier rating of A or higher.
Voting for the 2024 competition will begin June 12. The nomination period for other Pyramid Awards categories is currently open through May 12. More information is available here.
Fueled by the company mantra, “Create good,” the Solo Stove team creates smokeless fire pits, camp stoves, pizza ovens, grills and more. These outdoor recreation products are designed to help people have good moments that become lasting memories. The company introduced a host of new products in 2022 and contributes to organizations like One Tree Planted and the National Forest Foundation.
KNOSS Apparel offers innovative styles for the modern professional, created by an award-winning designer. KNOSS also offers a business bootcamp and takes a consulting approach for an authentic connection with customers. Founded by the Knoss family more than 50 years ago, the company’s roots go back to manufacturing school uniforms, premium sweaters and postal uniforms. Their timeless and trusted styles offer work-to-play balance with garments that are functional, comfortable and performance-driven.
Refresh Glass rescues hundreds of thousands of glass bottles destined for the landfill to create one-of-a-kind products. Refresh Glass products are made in the USA with style, function and purpose. As eco-friendly as they come, the company’s story combined with the products shows recipients that you are walking the walk when it comes to the growing need for sustainable promo products that can be used again and again.
Fossa Apparel is a family-owned, women-owned and minority-owned small business on a mission to bring innovative designs and carefully manufactured apparel to customers’ hands. The company is dedicated to making clothes that are comfortable, affordable and high-quality. Unlike many apparel companies, Fossa starts the design process with the woman’s version to deliver better-fitting apparel to women in the workforce. They also offer in-house laser engraving, embroidery and digitizing for unparalleled flexibility.
Hauppauge, New York
Liqui-Mark has been manufacturing quality writing instruments, school and office supplies for almost half a century. With many items Made in the USA, we are proud to be a 5 Star and A+ Supplier to the Promotional Products Industry. Many products are made in the USA, including pens, highlighters, dry erase, permanent and washable markers, crayons, pencils, coloring books, stylus pens and accessories. The company also offers custom packaging capabilities.
Wolfmark manufactures and supplies stock and custom-made promotional apparel and accessories, from aprons, ties and scarves to hats, vests and blankets. The company has been in business for over 75 years and evolved from a small cut-and-sew shop into a company that stocks over $2 million in inventory, building a reputation for quality products with excellent customer service. Expanded product offerings include cashmere, fleece, wool and bamboo blankets and scarves, chef apparel, neckwear and more.
BEST Promotions USA
Balch Springs, Texas
BEST Promotions USA was founded in 2007 with a passion for answering the phone with a live person and building relationships on trust and authenticity. As the second-largest designer and supplier of “coolies” in the United States, BEST prides itself on championship-level service and market-leading product quality. About 70% of the company’s products, including drinkware and tech items, are made 100% in the USA, and all of their products are customized domestically.
Syosset, New York
WOWLine, a third-generation family-owned business, has been in business for over 50 years. Previously known as Many Mini Toys, the company is known for toys, games, puzzles and novelties but more recently branched out to add practical items for the kitchen, health and wellness, pets and much more. WOWLine has been making strides in offering more items made with eco-friendly materials like bamboo, recycled paper or plastic and other degradable materials.
Pen manufacturer RiteLine USA is committed to responsible product sourcing, rare design, reliable quality and a reputation built on experience. Each RiteLine pen is an exclusive design, focused on providing users the best writing experience possible. The company’s products are manufactured in a state-of-the-art facility overseas using inks that meet exacting U.S. and Canadian safety and social responsibility standards, then decorated in and shipped from its Dallas headquarters.
Launched in 2009 with an initial focus on lanyards and ID products, ImprintID has added a variety of product categories as the company has grown, such as tech accessories, drinkware, apparel, headwear, office supplies, bags and more. ImprintID also offers a variety of decorating methods, including die cut, screen print, heat press, color/full-bleed sublimation, embossing, embroidery and more. The company strives to provide the best customer experience without hassle and instill confidence in every order.
Lee’s Summit, Missouri
First to the promo products industry with fully custom knitted socks, SOCK101 has helped thousands of people stand out in a crowd. The company has grown and added custom shoes and apparel items, as well as bags, blankets and more. They have also added more eco-friendly products made from recycled cotton to help prevent textile waste and use fewer resources than conventional or organic cotton.
Jornik is a multi‐award-winning, five‐star, A+ rated, second‐generation, family-owned and operated supplier. In 2020 it was named Counselor’s Family Business of the Year. Jornik strives to provide a fun, unique and fresh line of hard goods, including made-in-the-USA items and packaging, that are designed, engineered, manufactured, tested and inspected to exceed expectations.
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Raining Rose Promos is a full-service manufacturer and supplier of personal care products, including high-quality lip balms, hand sanitizers, sunscreens and lotions. The company has achieved status as a certified B Corp, which means it meets the highest standards of accountability, transparency and social and environmental performance, and it operates by the values of service, people and planet, integrity, expertise and a focus on the future.
Towel Specialties is a family-owned business that began in 1985 with a goal to provide innovative products and unsurpassed customer service. Many of the company’s employees and outside sales reps have more than 20 years of service, providing continuity and product knowledge to keep customers coming back year after year. In addition, Towel Specialties facilities have been audited for product safety, product quality, social accountability, environmental stewardship and supply chain security.
Pro Towels is one of the largest towel and textile suppliers in the U.S., serving a wide range of products to the promotional products industry for over 35 years. Product offerings range from beach, golf, fitness and sports towels, as well as other textile items including bath and kitchen accessories, for over 50 industries. The company offers in-house screen printing, sublimation and embroidery services to support its broad product line.
Maple Ridge Farms*
When someone receives a gift from Maple Ridge Farms, they’re getting more than mouth-watering gourmet food and beautiful packaging, they’re getting a sensory experience they will remember long after they’ve enjoyed the contents. Founded in 1979, the company offers a variety of naturally aged cheeses, premium chocolates, fresh-roasted nuts, smoked meats and made-from-scratch baked goods.
Garden Grove, California
Evans Manufacturing specializes in promotional products for better living in categories including health care, drinkware, bags, writing instruments, travel, auto, outdoor and more. Nearly half of the product line is manufactured in the company’s California facility, so those products are always in stock and the majority are available in within a week. Evans was recently acquired by HPG, but the Evans team will continue to handle orders for the foreseeable future.
San Diego, California
Goldstar is a manufacturer and supplier of customized writing instruments, drinkware and bags, servicing over 5,000 distributors across the U.S. and Canada. The company differentiates itself with its commitment to simplicity, an award‐winning promise for easy transactions and all‐inclusive pricing with no setup charges or hidden fees.
Founded in 1947 as a small pencil company, Gold Bond now has operations on two continents. The company supplies hard goods, apparel and accessories and prides itself on being large enough to handle demanding orders while small enough to be flexible in accommodating customer requests. Gold Bond says its greatest asset is its ability to adapt to the ever-changing needs of its partners, and each team member strives to exceed customer expectations.
Garyline / Gary Plastic Packaging
Bronx, New York
Garyline, a family business celebrating 60 years in 2023, manufactures 95% of its products, including sports bottles, travel tumblers, stadium cups and more, in its 300,000-square-foot New York facility. The company is proud to be a source for union made products, over 100 of which are made from recycled materials. All aspects of production are controlled on the premises to ensure quality and stock availability in all colors, even for the largest orders.
Ariel Premium Supply
St. Louis, Missouri
Entering its 30th year, the family-owned and operated Ariel Premium Supply has grown into a global operation with production and sourcing offices around the world. Its mission is to help build successful promotional and motivational programs through a wide offering of attractive, high-quality products. The company designs and decorates thousands of items across dozens of categories, including stress relievers, pedometers, hot/cold packs, bags, lights and more, including the Ariel EDGE line of innovative tech-focused products.
Founded in 1958, Gemline is an award-winning, design-centric supplier providing high-quality branded products to the promotional products industry. The company’s product line includes bags, luggage, business accessories, drinkware, electronics, stationery, writing instruments, gourmet foods and lifestyle gifts. In addition to its house brands and Gemline-branded products, the company offers in-demand retail brands such as American Tourister, Igloo, Samsonite, Moleskine, MiiR, Corkcicle, Paper Mate, Sharpie and Zebra.
Family owned and operated since 1971, SanMar is a national supplier of apparel from more than 30 private label and celebrated retail brands, with eight distribution centers nationwide. The company provides apparel and accessories to screen printers, embroiderers, promotional products distributors, athletic dealers, industrial launderers and more, whether they are outfitting a Fortune 500 corporation or the local bowling team.
HPG was formed in 2017 with one goal in mind: to make the best of the best even better with products that wow. The company produces thousands of innovative products across seven different production facilities in North America and delivers them to customers quickly to help create memorable branded experiences that leave a lasting impression. HPG brands include Hub, Beacon, Best, Debco, BCG Creations, Origaudio, Handstands, HPG Exclusive, Batch & Bodega and Mixie.
*The asterisk denotes suppliers that won Supplier Star or Award of Merit in the same category last year.