PPAI’s Promomobile Paves The Way For The Expo Experience

Ahead of The PPAI Expo last month in Las Vegas, the Association set out to do something different. PPAI’s van—a Ford Transit sporting “PPAI 1” on blue custom Texas license plates, wrapped from top to bottom with the message “promotional products work” and dubbed the Promomobile—began its trek on January 1 to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center for Expo 2019’s January 13 kick-off.

The journey took the PPAI Promomobile through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and through Southern California before circling back to Las Vegas, visiting industry companies’ offices along the route and hosting a series of pop-up lunches for area distributors. PPAI Marketing Manager Amy Bramhall and Associate Editor Danielle Renda took the first leg before handing the van off to Diversity and Learning Engagement Manager Julie Kwan and Graphic Designer Nolan Moran in San Diego. The PPAI Promomobile’s two-week trip was an opportunity to connect with industry members, learn more about them and share the power of promotional products.

The PPAI Promomobile’s road to the Expo began with a stop at RiteLine in Dallas. The supplier’s staff gave Bramhall and Renda a tour of their facility and a look at their preparations for the big show in Las Vegas. Their second stop in Texas was farther west, in Midland, where The Stadium Chair Co., LLC welcomed the PPAI Promomobile’s crew with a comfortable seat and insights into their company on what proved to be a cold and icy day.

Leaving Texas, the drive took them to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they met with the husband and wife team behind suppliers Okina Sales and Symphony Handmade Papers, and onwards to Arizona. There, they visited The Proinnovative Line in Phoenix, a supplier that offers a wide range of products in various categories, and The Antigua Group in Peoria, a supplier whose around-the-clock operation supplies sports fans with a range of corporate- and college-branded apparel.

“We learned valuable information about the suppliers’ operations and all the moving parts required for their businesses,” says Renda. “With every member visit that PPAI embarks on, we understand more about our members’ needs and deepen our ever-growing understanding of the promotional products industry.”

Bramhall and Renda’s week on the road came to an end when they pulled into San Diego and handed the keys to the PPAI Promomobile to Kwan and Moran. They began their California tour with a stop at Goldstar in San Diego, where COO RJ Hagel and General Manager Howard Cubberly gave them a behind-the-scenes look at its new offices and discussed their plans for the upcoming Expo. Their journey then took them to Evans Manufacturing in Garden Grove, where they met with Marketing Manager David Goldfarb, Data Entry and Art Manager Tiffani Burlingame and Assistant Production Manager Sheana Hirsch, for a tour of the facility. The next day, Chris Hodge, senior vice president of sales at Culver City-based Innovation Line, showed them around the supplier’s production facility and office spaces and gave them an up-close look at how it produces acrylics, luggage tags, nail files and other products.

The PPAI Promomobile closed out its California tour with visits to Picnic Time Family of Brands in Moorpark and Simba in Oxnard, before hitting the road for Las Vegas. Before pulling into the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, site of the PPAI Expo, Kwan and Moran stopped in at The Premium Line, where Ron Worth, president of the Las Vegas-based supplier, gave them a tour of the company and its operations.

At the end of its journey, the PPAI Promomobile spent the Expo stationed outside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, welcoming attendees as they parked their cars or stepped off the shuttle bus to enter the promotional products industry’s largest and longest-running trade show.


PPAI, SAAGNY And PAPPA Represent The Industry In New Jersey’s State Capital

On December 17, PPAI joined with the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York (SAAGNY) and Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA) to bring the Association’s Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.) to New Jersey’s legislators in Trenton. During the L.E.A.D. Local event, PPAI staff and industry professionals spent the day meeting with lawmakers to educate them on the promotional products industry in their state.

The L.E.A.D. Local New Jersey group included PPAI Public Affairs Director Anne Stone and Public Affairs Manager Maurice Norris, along with Michele Jennrich, MAS; Brian Deissroth; John Davis, CAS; and Ian Miller, MAS. The conversations touched on how promotional products worked, along with global value chains, although the primary goal of the meetings was to build awareness. Norris says, “We wanted to introduce ourselves as an industry of people, not a ‘collection of things’ imported from overseas.”

Deissroth says, “Our message to the New Jersey legislators was warmly received. We had a productive day of meetings. There are nearly 12,000 New Jerseyans employed in the promotional products industry and just over $800 million in economic revenue contributed to the state from our industry. Overall our message was that we don’t want to be New Jersey’s $800 million secret.”

L.E.A.D. Local New Jersey participants Brian Deissroth (left) regional sales director at Vantage apparel, and Michelle Jennrich, MAS, supplier representative for Howard Miller Co., met with several New Jersey legislators and their staff members on their visit to the capital.

Davis adds, “The feeling that it was important to make our local legislators aware of our industry and to help put a face on those whom their actions affect was my main reason for getting involved.”

The day at the state capitol included more than a dozen scheduled meetings with legislators as well as several impromptu discussions.

“I participated in discussions with one senator and three different assembly members,” says Davis. “All of the people that I met with were interested in what I had to say and were very supportive. Senator Vin Gopal had previously been in the decorating business, so he was very aware of our industry. Senator Gopal suggested that we put together a group from our regional association and visit our representatives’ local offices within their districts to further carry the message to them.”

Deissroth concurred. “We will be following up with our lawmakers and scheduling district office meetings in 2019. We are also working with lawmakers for onsite visits to suppliers in New Jersey,” he says.

Expanding on the issues discussion in Trenton, Deissroth adds, “New Jersey is filled with hard-working folks, a lot of whom work in small businesses, so our message connected to the legislators. I expect legislators to act in our favor. A hot button issue in New Jersey is the $15-an-hour minimum wage. We encouraged lawmakers to take a gradual approach. Wage increases to achieve $15 an hour minimum wage will be incremental. This benefits small business because it will be gradual and allow time for business owners to make proper pay adjustments, and it also benefits suppliers within the state because a $15 minimum wage brings more competitive workers to our doors.

“The legislators understood the importance of promotional products and the power of the message associated with the product. New Jersey was the first state to adapt the baby box initiative; a simple onesie that reads ‘this side up’ and can save a life. State legislators that we met with found the onesie to be very powerful.”


James Khattak is news editor of PPB.