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Industry News
Stay current on the lastest industry news. You can always link PPB Publications below or browse through press releases posted below.


Submit press releases to: Cheryl Small at Cheryl@ppaf.com
  • 18 Dec 2014 11:16 AM | Anonymous


    Union, IL – Dec. 18, 2014 – BAG MAKERS, Inc., the promotional product industry’s leading imprinted bag supplier, has promoted Linda McMahan-Kollinger, MAS, to Director of Merchandising. McMahan-Kollinger has served as BAG MAKERS’ Southeast Business Development Manager for 10 years.

    As Director of Merchandising, McMahan-Kollinger is responsible for ensuring creative and consistent company booth presentations for national, regional and end-user shows.

    “Linda is dedicated to presenting our products in a way that really resonates with our customers,” said Maribeth Sandford, BAG MAKERS Chief Executive Officer. “Linda is working to create merchandising strategies that will allow our talented sales team to set up displays that showcase our products consistently across the country, yet still cater to different industries and bag needs.”

    McMahan-Kollinger, an industry veteran, spent nearly 15 years as a distributor prior to joining BAG MAKERS. She began working for Gilbert and Manjura Merchandise in 1990 and later purchased the company’s merchandise division (which she renamed GM Merchandise) in 2002. McMahan-Kollinger has won multiple PPAI Golden Pyramid Awards for outstanding, creative use of promotional products by distributors in a variety of client programs and campaigns.

    About BAG MAKERS
    BAG MAKERS, Inc. is a Counselor Top 40 supplier of non-woven, paper and plastic bags to the promotional products industry. Established in 1980, BAG MAKERS offers a collection of more than 100 products to the corporate marketplace, as well as complete custom product design services.
    BAG MAKERS is a Women’s Business Enterprise and is an Accredited Supplier through the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA). Additional information may be found at www.bagmakersinc.com.

  • 09 Dec 2014 9:53 AM | Anonymous

    Bille Jo Walchek
    Director of Marketing
    214.631.6000 x4539 bille.walchek@sageworld.com


    With SAGE FastTrackTM, SAGE Advantage Members can now update their catalogs in the SAGE database through a new streamlined, expedited process.

    Addison, Texas (December 8, 2014) – SAGE has just announced the availability of FastTrackTM, a new, expedited method for suppliers to update their catalogs in the SAGE database. Using SAGE FastTrack, SAGE Advantage Members can now update their product information in the SAGE database with ease by downloading their existing product portfolio in an Excel spreadsheet, editing the spreadsheet to make necessary changes, and then submitting the modified spreadsheet (and any associated files such as product images) to the system through the SAGE Supplier Center.

    SAGE’s systems will immediately review each submission and notify the supplier in real time about common errors or concerns. If everything looks good, the update will be processed by SAGE content specialists with high priority through the special FastTrack system. All of the changes will go live on all SAGE research services within just a few days of submission.

    David Natinsky, SAGE’s President, explained, “We are committed to improving our customers’ businesses and helping them spend their time most effectively. FastTrack greatly simplifies our catalog updating process and makes it as easy as possible for suppliers of all sizes to update their product catalogs as efficiently as possible.” Natinsky continued, “Our suppliers have always valued how accurate their product information is as a result of our thorough updating process. Now they can still reap the benefits of accurate listings, but without sacrificing valuable time. We expect that many Advantage Members will utilize this service to get their catalogs updated for the new year.”


    The new FastTrack service is in addition to SAGE’s other catalog update methods, including real-time updating through the SAGE Supplier Center, full integration to suppliers’ back-end platforms using the recently-introduced Supplier Integration Toolkit, as well as “regular track” updating by sending catalog information to SAGE for handling by SAGE’s extensive team of in-house content specialists.

    SAGE Supplier Advantage Members should log into the SAGE Supplier Center to get started using FastTrack to update their catalog. More information on FastTrack and SAGE Advantage Membership can be found at www.sageworld.com/supplier/advantage.php#3.

    About SAGE

    SAGE, based in Addison, Texas, is the leading provider of information, marketing and business management solutions to the promotional products industry. In addition to SAGE’s flagship SAGE OnlineTM and SAGE MobileTM research and business management services, SAGE also provides the industry with other research services, order management, website and email services, e-commerce solutions, end user catalogs, artwork services, payment processing, tradeshows, tradeshow management services, and lead retrieval software. SAGE is also the exclusive technology provider for members of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the industry’s non-profit association. For more information, please visit www.sageworld.com or call 800.925.7243.


  • 04 Nov 2014 11:10 AM | Anonymous

    November 4, 2014

    Toronto, ON, Canada and Virginia Beach, VA

    commonsku and PPAF Announce Strategic Partnership

    commonsku and the Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) have announced a strategic partnership that will offer commonsku’s software as a member benefit to PPAF members.

    The partnership will give PPAF members access to the suite of complete business management tools available as part of the commonsku software platform.

    While the commonsku Social Business platform is free for all members, PPAF members will enjoy a 10% discount off commonsku’s Customer Relationship and Order Management platforms for the first year. It will also allow PPAF and its members to be in closer contact with each other on a day to day basis.

    "Our goal with commonsku is to help distributors and suppliers grow their business by offering easy to use, cloud based business management tools," said commonsku Co-Founder, Mark Graham. “PPAF is an industry association that promotes connectedness, education, and working to help the industry. We are happy to be partnering with them to help their members close more business. The partnership will give PPAF members access to commonsku’s suite of complete business management tools at a discount.”

    "We are so excited to be partnering with commonsku,” said PPAF Board President, Ashlee Poole. “Doing so allows us to bring another feature of membership to PPAF members. Beyond that, this reinforces part of PPAF's mission, which is to connect our membership with other industry professionals. This platform is designed to do exactly that. We hope that our members take the time to investigate commonsku and learn how it can play a role in their business and marketing plans." 

    Supplier and distributor members can learn more at www.commonsku.com/welcomePPAF

    The streamlined communication in commonsku will allow PPAF members to have quicker and easier access to the people and information that matters to them.

    About commonsku

    commonsku is complete promotional products business and sales software. It has all of the software tools you need to run a modern promotional products business. commonsku is unique to the industry as it is the only community where suppliers and distributors gather to help each other close more business. Learn more at www.commonsku.com.

    About PPAF

    The Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) is a non-profit trade association founded in 1972 and is one of the fastest growing regional associations in the country.

    PPAF serves promotional products professionals throughout the Southeast and Florida by providing educational events, networking opportunities, discounts on industry products and hosts the largest regional trade show in the country, PPAF EXPO.

    Press Contacts

    Mark Graham, CEO/commonsku

    mark (at) commonsku.com

    Dana Geiger

    Executive Director, PPAF

    Dana (at)  ppaf.com

  • 12 Sep 2014 9:26 AM | Anonymous


    Lauren Davenport, Founder of Symphoni Media, will be speaking at the Promotional Products Association of Florida (PPAF) educational event and luncheon on Tuesday, Sep.16, 2014 at 11:30 a.m. in Tampa, Fla.  PPAF members can register to attend for $18 and non-members can register for $22.

    What to Expect From the Event

    Davenport will be teaching the LevelUp Your LinkedIn class from her Social Success Series. Guests can expect to learn how to use LinkedIn; from understanding the basic elements to engaging and utilizing its networks to generate high quality leads that will help them grow their business. Guests will walk away knowing why LinkedIn is a vital and powerful tool in terms of networking. The class will also teach participants how to build a LinkedIn profile that makes a strong first impression, as well as the tips and tricks on how to create processes to make LinkedIn networking a successful and profitable experience.

    About the Speaker

    Lauren Davenport is the Founder and Creative Director for Symphoni Media, an Award-Winning Digital and Creative Design Agency. Since 2009, she has helped both local and publicly traded companies to expand their online marketing. Davenport's passion for discovering what makes a company unique, helps her build lovable brands that helps her clients’ companies grow. By creating strategic, stunningly beautiful and captivating brands along with online campaigns, Symphoni helps companies turn customers into brand ambassadors.

    About Symphoni

    Headquartered in the heart of Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, Symphoni Media orchestrates successful marketing campaigns for businesses all over the world. The company’s in-house team of over 20 media conductors is comprised of both business-minded and brilliantly creative people who work together for the success of their clients. Since 2009, Symphoni Media has helped Medical, Legal and HVAC companies create compelling marketing solutions that attract, convert and retain their clients across all media platforms.  

    For additional information about Symphoni Media, call 727.343.3970, email info@symphonigroup.com, or visit www.SymphoniGroup.com.

    Register to attend

  • 03 Sep 2014 7:22 PM | Anonymous

    Former PPAF director and president Dale Denham MAS+ was selected as one of two distributor candidates for the PPAI Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the Association, responsible for adopting policies, rules and regulations for the conduct of the Association.Dale is known for his technology expertise including making technology easy to understand. Dale is a frequent speaker at PPAI and at regional associations on numerous topics. 

    Most recently, Dale has been chair of the PPAI technology committee during which time the committee launched 2 important initiatives. The committee launched the very successful PPAI Technology Summit which brought over 50 technology professionals together to work on improving industry efficiencies through technology. The committee also launched www.promowiki.org as a place for industry participants to learn about the different technologies available specifically to the promotional products industry. 

    Dale states his reason for wanting to serve: “My desire to serve on the PPAI board stems from my belief we must do more as an industry to benefit from technology. There are so many opportunities for our association to help strengthen our industry firms and thus our overall industry.” You can learn more about Dale’s contributions and plans at www.facebook.com/choosedale. 

    Voting for the PPAI Board of directors runs from September 4 through September 29th. Each PPAI member company is entitled to 1 vote from the designated voting member.

  • 02 Jul 2014 2:21 PM | Anonymous

    FLORIDA (July 1, 2014) The Promotional Products Association of Florida is rolling out their new brand that reflects the fresh and invigorating initiatives taking place within the association.  This 2014 brand will be officially unveiled at the 2014 PPAF EXPO in Orlando this August.    

    2014 marks a turning point for the association in many ways. They have been working to reach their members with new educational events that place an emphasis on sales tools, industry education and supplier relationships. By increasing monthly meetings, hosting new social events, and bringing new ideas to PPAF EXPO, they are showing the value that a regional affiliation brings to their members. The expectation is that freshening the PPAF brand will remind their members of their commitment to them and to the industry. After all, in the Promotional Products industry, brand does matter.

    PPAF Board President Ashlee Poole says, “ Rebranding the association now just makes sense. We have evolved in the past few years and we feel it is important that our brand reflect a new energy and the new initiatives we are spearheading.

    “Many suppliers are offering multi-color imprinting options.  We wanted our logo to show the new capabilities available for promotional products.  Our new logo not only exemplifies PPAF but also stands as an example for the updates our industry has made in providing vibrant, full color branding”

    The mission of the PPAF is to contribute to our member's professionalism, access effective industry business practices and financial success while implementing programs to expand the use of promotional products in Florida.

    For more information about PPAF, call (757) 491-3114 or visit www.PPAF.com today.  

    -        end –

  • 16 Jun 2014 8:48 AM | Anonymous
    DELRAY BEACH, Fla. (June 12, 2014) – The Book Company, the premier supplier of published books and journals, announces that it will exclusively supply Rand McNally’s print product line – including America’s #1 Road Atlas – to the promotional product industry.

    “Rand McNally has been a leading promotional product supplier in the past, selling tens of millions of road atlases and maps,” according to Doug Greenhut, The Book Company President. “The demand for these products has seen major growth recently as the limitations of GPS become more evident. GPS doesn’t provide the small details or the larger overviews that are so necessary when planning a longer distance trip with multiple stops. Truckers, couriers, and RV owners can’t live without these items!”
    The Book Company website now features the complete line of Rand McNally Road Atlases and Kid’s Activity Books together with more than 40 Easy-to-Fold State and City Maps. All items are available for customization at a minimum of 50 pieces and blank items are available at 25 pieces. A dedicated print catalog of Rand McNally items will be available this summer.
    “In re-establishing our presence in the promotional products industry, we investigated a number of potential supplier partners. We were impressed with The Book Company’s industry reputation, account management team, and customization capabilities and are confident that the company will reinvigorate sales of Rand McNally branded products in the promotional marketplace,” said Dennis FitzPatrick, Senior Vice President, Rand McNally.
    For more information about Rand McNally Atlases, Maps and Activity Books, or any book or journal offered by The Book Company, contact your Account Manager toll-free at 1-800-367-9388, or visit their website at www.thebookco.com.
  • 14 May 2014 3:22 AM | Anonymous


    Contact Joelle Stahlecker Maple Ridge Farms, Inc. 715-693-4346 joelles@mapleridge.com

    May 5, 2014

    Mosinee, WI – Maple Ridge Farms President, Tom Riordan, announced the appointment of Ray Rodriguez, a 30-year industry veteran, to the newly created position of Eastern Regional Sales Manager, directing the company’s current multiline sales representation to promotional products distributors from Maine to Florida to Mississippi.

    Rodriguez was principle of Multiline Marketing Group, the first and only national independent sales rep group in the promotional products industry. Most recently he was in sales management for a leading motivational award and recognition company and a major drinkware supplier. In 2000, Rodriguez was listed by

    The Counselor as one of the top 13 people to watch for industry excellence.

    In announcing his hire, Riordan noted, "I have known Ray for many years and have a great deal of respect for the outstanding work he has done with some of the most

    recognized supplier brands in the industry. We are excited to be able to put his expertise and talent to work at Maple Ridge to continue to strengthen our presence with distributors in his territory."

    With offices in New York and Florida, Rodriguez will be responsible for eastern region sales activity including attending major distributor account sales calls, managing sales reps and attending industry trade shows. Rodriguez will also assist Riordan in developing sales and marketing strategies for Maple Ridge.

    Stated Rodriguez on his newest role, “Maple Ridge Farms is poised for explosive growth, and Tom Riordan has made an extraordinary commitment to make Maple Ridge Farms the best-of-the-best in the food gift category.” He continued, “I am incredibly excited to join Tom’s team and lend my experience in advancing the company’s continued history of success.”


    In a related role, Rodriguez added he would also be responsible for sales representation in the same capacity for California based wearable’s supplier Apollo USA (ASI 73392). He stated, “This shared position as Eastern Regional Sales Manager for both Maple Ridge Farms and Apollo will provide for a strong, comprehensive offering when presenting both lines to our distributor network.”
    A separate press release will be forthcoming from Apollo this month. Rodriguez’s effective date for both companies is May 1, 2014.

    The eastern sales region that Rodriguez will oversee includes: ME, VT, NH, MA, NY, PA, WV, VA, NJ, DE, RI, CT, MD, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, KY, TN, FL. In addition Rodriguez will be responsible for representing Maple Ridge Farms to a national industry distributor-buying group.

    Located in Mosinee, WI, Maple Ridge Farms, Inc. (ASI 68680, PPAI 114165, UPIC: MAPLE, SAGE 57654) founded in 1979, is a leading supplier of food gifts to the promotional products industry. Maple Ridge Farms excels in customer service and is the recipient of The ASI Distributor Choice Winner for 13 consecutive years; as well as the recipient of multiple PPAI Supplier Star Awards and Promotional Marketing Supplier Star Awards. Recognized for outstanding product freshness,

    the line includes a complete variety of innovatively packaged candies, premium chocolates, fresh-roasted nuts, made-from-scratch baked goods, naturally aged cheeses, and applewood smoked meats. For more information on the company, visit www.mapleridge.com.

    Photo attached: Ray Rodriguez

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  • 14 Apr 2014 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    For more information, contact:                   

    Mary Ellen Sokalski, 800-877-9911, ext. 1014

    PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Marc Held, an 18 year sales veteran known as “the face of Bodek and Rhodes”, was promoted to the position of Vice President of National Sales, effective April 1, 2014.

    “Marc has truly earned this position,” noted President/CEO Michael Rhodes.  “His remarkable work ethic, follow-through, leadership and sales results, combined with the amazing key contacts he developed who rely on him as their trusted apparel advisor, expert and friend… all these things  led to our decision to recognize him as one of our leaders spearheading initiatives for growth here at Bodek and Rhodes. “

    Held’s career skyrocketed after joining Bodek and Rhodes from the sporting goods industry as his second career job after college, leaping from an inside sales rep to outside rep, to sales manager and then National Sales Director.  He not only has been a huge contributor to Bodek and Rhodes’ rise to the six largest supplier and third largest apparel wholesaler in promotional products, but also in his relationship-building with key accounts, suppliers and industry leaders through the country.  He has gained a reputation as a talented sales professional, speaker, apparel expert and industry insider whose advice and participation is sought out by a wide array of individuals and organizations, most specifically in his recent service as President and board member of the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association, Co-Chair of the PPAI North American Leadership Conference Task Force, and the Board of Directors of the Premier Group, and as a top-rated speaker for both PPAI and ASI.  He was also lauded with ASI’s Industry Rep of the Year in 2007, and as a PPAI Rising Star in 2012.

    In addition to Marc’s current responsibility of directing the Outside Sales Team, he will take on responsibility for developing sales objectives and strategies for all National Accounts and directing their execution.  Further, Marc will join the Executive committee and participate in developing the overall strategic direction of the company.

    “I am humbled and flattered to earn this new opportunity.  I feel I have grown up here at Bodek and Rhodes.  All along the way, I have been listened to, acknowledged for my hard work, and appreciated.  I can’t tell you how exciting it is that I will continue to be an important part of Bodek and Rhodes’ future success, developing the customers I love,” comments Held proudly.

    Bodek and Rhodes is a national, family-owned apparel distributor headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. They offer quick nationwide shipping from five strategically-located distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Florida and Massachusetts. More information on Bodek and Rhodes is available online at www.bodekandrhodes.com or at facebook.com/bodekandrhodes.


  • 09 Feb 2014 6:54 PM | Anonymous


    Contact: Abby Robida

    Video Marketing Specialist Showdown Displays
    Direct Phone: (763) 746-1138
    arobida@signzoneinc.com www.showdowndisplays.com


    Las Vegas, NV (January 14, 2014) undefined Showdown Displays® kicked off PPAI Las Vegas with a bang! During their National Sales Meeting, they announced the 2013 sales award recipients. Awards were given out for: Independent Sales Representative and Factory Sales Representative of the Year.

    Receiving the Independent Sales Representative award was: The Watson Group, which includes Bo Turner and Tina Jameson-Brown. The Watson Group services the South East region of the United States, which is where they are also headquartered. The 2013 Factory Representative of the Year was awarded to Kirsten Olson, the Key Account Representative for the Mid-Atlantic region.

    “Because of fantastic talents across our organization, Showdown Displays continues to deliver and delight our distributor partners. Bo, Tina and Kirsten are tremendous examples of that talent and they personify our values and ideals to always deliver legendary customer experiences.” Stated Kevin Walsh, Showdown Displays® Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

    The PPAI Las Vegas Show was held January 13th-17th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Showdown Displays®, an A+ SAGE and five star ASI Supplier, presented their new 2014 products and services at the show. Check out www.showdowndisplays.com for new products, services and to request your 2014 catalog.

    ## #

    About Showdown Displays®
    Showdown Displays® is the leading domestic manufacturer and supplier of visual communications, event and display merchandise to the Advertising Specialty and Promotional Products industries. Showdown Displays® is a subsidiary of Sign-Zone, Inc. headquartered
    in Ramsey, Minnesota. Showdown Displays
    ® owns and operates a highly efficient, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing facility in Minnesota and augments its domestic capabilities with global sourcing operations. For more information about Showdown Displays® please contact us at 888-376-7469.

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