(Editor’s Note: PromoWire by PPAI Media is a running digest of updates from organizations around the promotional products industry. PPAI Media will consider newsworthy entries submitted by any member organization.)

September 20

Koozie Group Donates 1,900 Filled Backpacks To Regional United Way Chapters

For the second consecutive year, Koozie Group (PPAI 114187, S13) stepped up in a big way during the back-to-school season by providing backpacks full of school supplies to regional chapters of United Way in Florida and Minnesota.

  • Koozie Group employees filled the backpacks with markers, crayons, pencils, water bottles and more that were then delivered to United Way Suncoast (Florida); United Way Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties (Minnesota); and United Way Brown County (Minnesota). The backpacks were distributed by these chapters to area families for their back-to-school needs.
  • Koozie Group has long been a supporter of United Way as part of its Keep It. Give It. initiative. Last year, in addition to donating 1,500 backpacks full of school supplies to United Way chapters near its facilities, the supplier also donated over $425,000 in product to the organization, including supplies for Hurricane Ian relief. The company’s Write on! campaign also supports United Way, donating five percent of writing instrument sales to the nonprofit.

Trisha Joyce, Koozie Group employee experience & communications manager, says, “Our employees are passionate about supporting education and were more than happy to step up and help fill the bags. This is an initiative that we hope to keep growing from year to year, as Koozie Group is proud to make a difference and proud of its ongoing support of United Way.”

Sonoma Promotional Solutions Now SBA/WOSB Certified

Sonoma Pins Etc., dba Sonoma Promotional Solutions (PPAI 204856, S7), has earned its SBA/WOSB certification.

  • The SBA’s Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program helps provide a level playing field for women business owners.
  • Certification allows access to an extensive network of support, education programs, mentorship opportunities and increased visibility in corporate and government supply chains. WOSB certification also provides access to national and federal-level contracts.

September 19

Stran & Company Appoints David Leuci As Chief Information Officer

Stran & Company (PPAI 161542, D10) has hired David Leuci as chief information officer. Leuci, an experienced information technology executive, will play a key role in enhancing Stran’s overall technology strategy, execution and leadership.

  • Leuci brings over 25 years of IT leadership experience within the software, e-commerce, consumer goods, asset management, fitness and healthcare industries. Most recently, he was chief digital information officer at The Energy Federation. Before that, he was senior vice president and CIO/CTO at Unidine Corporation, a food and dining management services company.

Stran CEO Andy Shape says, “We are excited to have David join our executive team. Stran is actively working to fully implement NetSuite into our operations along with other e-commerce initiatives using Adobe’s e-commerce platform, Magento Open Source. David brings the firsthand experience and a deep skillset utilizing both of these platforms that will allow us to maximize our technology investments and improve the overall efficiency of our business.”

Vantage Apparel Expands Retail Brands With Berne Apparel Workwear

Vantage Apparel (PPAI 113235, S10) has partnered with Berne Apparel, a renowned name in the industry since 1915. Vantage Apparel says Berne’s reputation for providing rugged and reliable workwear aligns perfectly with its commitment to quality and durability.

  • The first rollout includes four of Berne’s best-selling outerwear styles: Berne Heritage Duck Hooded Active Jacket, Berne Heartland Washed Duck Hooded Work Jacket, Berne Heritage Duck Chore Coat and Berne Heritage Thermal-Lined Full-Zip Hooded Sweatshirt.
  • Clients can expect seamless customization options including embroidery, patches and laser etching.

“The addition of Berne workwear brings an array of high-quality styles to the forefront, catering to various uniform preferences and outerwear needs,” says Vantage Apparel President Ira Neaman, MAS. “We’re starting off with styles that are most popular for outdoor workers but there is also a fashion component that broadens the audience. Workwear has been a solid trend with younger buyers for several seasons.”

Reciprocity Road Delivers In-Person Sales Event

Reciprocity Road (PPAI 769354), an alliance of 11 distributors across the U.S. and Canada, comprising approximately $250 million in promotional product spending, recently wrapped up its third Road Rally sales event.

  • More than 120 industry professionals gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, for three days of networking, collaboration and education. Twenty-eight preferred vendors showcased their products and strategies, focusing on sustainability through in-suite meetings.
  • A highlight of the event was a fireside chat hosted by Tom Goos, MAS, president of Image Source, who discussed “The Making of a Dynasty” with Jeremy Lott, president and CEO of SanMar. Lott shared his wisdom and experience in growing the largest decoratable apparel business, along with the significance of culture, innovation and social responsibility within SanMar.

RR Executive Director Perry Wehrle, MAS, says, “It is very gratifying to see such a talented group of sales executives and top-notch suppliers come together to network and plan for growth. The forged relationships over the years reflect the spirit of Reciprocity Road.”

Discount Marketing Products Relocates To Larger Facility

Discount Marketing Products (PPAI 582106, S3) has ushered in a new era for business with its relocation to a larger facility. The move, completed on September 7, quadruples the company’s warehouse and office space.

  • DMP’s new home is located at 1739 Sands Place, Suite A, Marietta, Georgia 30067.
  • The relocation was driven by DMP’s vision to expand and enhance its services. The company says it is now better equipped than ever to meet the evolving needs of its customers with improved efficiencies, more dedicated staff, enhanced shipping and receiving and streamlined order processing.

September 17

Zing Celebrates 4 Million Water Bottles Saved – So Far

Zing (PPAI 517185, S7) announces a significant achievement in its ongoing commitment to not only replace plastic water bottles with reusable drinkware from Zing, S’well and BUILT, but also to protect the world’s oceans.

  • In the first month of its 100 Million Bottle Initiative, Zing has successfully saved 4 million single-use plastic water bottles from ending up in the oceans as part of an ambitious goal to prevent 100 million bottles from causing harm to marine life and ecosystems.
  • Zing announced the campaign last month and it quickly elevated the sustainability conversation among top distributors in the industry.

“We are honored to partner with Zing and be a part of its 100 Million Water Bottle Initiative,” says Andrew Ward, president of Merchology. “Protect the Planet is one of our core values at Merchology, and when our values align with those of our suppliers it’s a win-win. We appreciate Zing’s leadership in sustainability within our industry.”

Becky Duckett, sales manager at Robyn Promotions, a distributor currently ranked fourth in the 100 Million Bottle leaderboard, says, “Caring for our planet is not just a responsibility; it’s our passion. As we join hands with Zing, we reaffirm our commitment to sustainability and giving back to the environment. Together, we're not just making a difference; we're shaping a greener, brighter future for all.”