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What’s this? This year, we gave those ranked in the Top 40 the option to submit an additional statement of verification – signed by a senior financial officer – that the promotional product sales figure for 2001 they initially submitted by mail or verified over the phone was indeed correct. This was our way of raising, even further, the overall credibility of the Top 40. Those firms who chose to participate are indicated by this symbol.

denotes chief executive officer

denotes chief executive responsible for promotional products, if other than chief executive.
 Click here for a chart overview of the 2002 Top 40 Distributors
  1. American Identity (asi/120601)
    Kansas City, MO
    Promotional Products Sales: $216 million
    Workforce: 850
    Years in Industry: 33
    Privately Held
    Donald B. Berryman, CEO
    Roger P. Henry, President



    In 1998, Top 25 distributors Swingster and K-Products merged, bringing together two major companies operating logo merchandise fulfillment programs. The resulting entity, American Identity, manages more than 350 catalog programs. From 53 offices, the sales force of more than 80 covers more than 16,000 accounts nationwide. In 2000, American Identity merged with Boise Marketing Services, Inc. It is now the largest privately held promotional products distributor in the United States, serving more than 350 of the Fortune 1000 companies. American Identity is a vertically integrated marketing services resource, leveraging its position as a major domestic producer of apparel and headwear to provide customers with cost-effective promotional merchandise programs. In-house facilities include screenprinting, embroidery, photography, offset printing and Web site production/hosting.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Two-thousand and one impacted us with a decline in sales from many of our largest customers as they froze spending on much of their discretionary dollars. Most of our business-services customer segments were down from 2000, which was the best year in our history. We did see some segments increase, however and that came in areas that use our products for incentives. That group, to maintain business and revenue, pushed more promotions and more of our products to their sales force or dealers.

  2. HALO Branded Solutions
    (asi/218440)
    Deerfield and Sterling, IL 
    Promotional Products Sales: $193 million 
    Workforce: 680
    Years in Industry: 32 
    Publicly Held
    Marc Simon, CEO



    Founded by Lou Weisbach in 1972, HALO is a brand marketing firm consisting of HALO Branded Solutions and the Lee Wayne Corp., founded in 1952, and acquired by HALO in 1992. Since then, both distributorships have serviced many Fortune 1000 companies, while maintaining a large client base of small to mid-size companies. HALO acquired 21 companies from 1994 through 1999 and went public in 1992. It entered Chapter 11 proceedings in mid-2001 and is currently in the emerging process.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes, it did. Business was off due to economic conditions, our Chapter 11 filing, and the sale and/or discontinuance of some of our business units. 

  3. 4imprint Inc. (asi/197045)
    Oshkosh, WI
    Promotional Products Sales: $165 million

    Workforce: 293
    Years in Industry: 18
    Privately Held
    Dick Nelson, President/CEO



    4imprint began as Nelson Marketing in Logansport, IN, in 1985. The majority interest was sold to Miles Kimball Co. in 1988. It moved to Oshkosh, WI, in 1989. In 1990, Miles Kimball’s shares were sold to Alberta Kimball and Ted Leyhe. Nelson’s owners sold the company to UK-based Bemrose Corp. plc in 1996, and Nelson was named to Bemrose’s board. In 1999, Bemrose sold its U.S. suppliers. Bemrose Corp plc. changed its name to 4imprint Group in 2000. The same year, 4imprint entered into a strategic alliance with Carabunga.com, linking the sites and offering clients of both firms the services of the other. It also began working with Lands’ End Corporate Sales division that same year. The company is a full-service provider of promotional products and corporate programs, with locations domestically as well as Canada, the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Hong Kong. It purchased Adventures in Advertising Franchise Inc. in January 2001.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    The general slowdown in business spending across the U.S. economy had a slight negative impact on our direct marketing 2001 sales prior to 9/11. Clearly, the tragedy contributed to a further decline. However, our corporate program channel saw revenues increase as sales from new clients more than offset decreases in spending by existing customers. Billings for Adventures in Advertising were well up in the year (though not as much as originally forecast) as we added over 150 new owners to the family.

  4. Corporate Express Promotional Marketing (asi/168786)
    St. Louis
    Promotional Products Sales: $150 million
    Workforce: 400 
    Years in Industry: 43
    Publicly Held
    Dennis Multack, President



    Corporate Express Promotional Marketing designs and operates corporate-identity merchandise, sales promotion, incentive and service-award programs for major recognized brands. It leverages merchandising and physical distribution, an advanced IT infrastructure, Web store expertise and proficiency in third-party procurement integration to precisely engage the customers and purchasing systems of each client in real-time. Each program is custom-designed to consolidate client merchandise spending and control those costs while enhancing the brand. Established in 1960, the firm’s client base includes the consumer packaged-goods, industrial manufacturing, financial services and technology industries. Corporate Express is backed by the resources of its multi-billion-dollar parent, Buhrmann NV and has offices and distribution centers in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes, it caused several of our clients to cut back on their advertising and promotional spending.

  5. Integrated Merchandising Systems, d.b.a./Group II Communications Inc. (asi/215310)
    Morton Grove, IL
    Promotional Products Sales: $148 million
    Workforce: 250
    Years in Industry: 17
    Publicly Held
    James Jenness, CEO



    Group II, founded in 1985, provides marketing support services for global corporations with highly visible trademarks and properties. Through state-of-the-art facilities in the U.S. and Europe, it offers complete turnkey merchandising services, including concept creation and planning, purchasing and production, inventory management, customer service, warehousing and fulfillment, distribution management, billing, reporting and analysis. In 2001, Group II became part of Integrated Merchandising Systems LLC. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We work with Fortune 500 companies, and our results are tied to their economic condition. However, during 2001, we were able to acquire new clients, which caused us to increase overall revenue and 
    profitability

  6. Myron Manufacturing Corp. (asi/278980)
    Maywood, NJ
    Promotional Products Sales: $140 million (E)
    Workforce: 800
    Years in Industry: 53
    Privately Held
    Marie Adle-Kravacas, President



    Established in 1949, Myron provides personalized products, including calendars, writing instruments, cards, electronics and executive gifts. It sells to end-users through a variety of direct channels in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia. Its manufacturing operations are based in Maywood, NJ, but it maintains sales/service branches in Canada, England, Japan and Australia. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    (Declined to answer.)

  7. Geiger
    Lewiston, ME (asi/202900)
    Promotional Products Sales: $124.8 million
    Workforce: 525
    Years in Industry: 124
    Privately Held
    Gene Geiger, CEO 



    Geiger was started in Newark, NJ, in 1878 by brothers Andrew and Jacob. It has remained a family business through four generations of owner/managers and a 1955 move to Maine. Geiger is a full-service distributor of promotional products and corporate programs. It is represented in 50 states and Puerto Rico and operates 22 local sales offices and five distribution centers. Its Maine plant produces planners and organizers and the well-known Farmers’ Almanac. It participates internationally in Diary Publishers International (DPI) and the World Advertising Gift Exchange (WAGE). In 2002, it acquired the Walter W. Cribbins Co.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    2001 was a challenging year for us, and perhaps the most challenging one in memory for our industry. After catching our breath, we regrouped around the basics of prospecting, good selling techniques and customer service. We have been buoyed by a very strong influx of new salespeople who are seeking organizational stability and service breadth. We feel poised to benefit from the inevitable upswing ahead.

  8. Cyrk Inc. (asi/173519)
    Wakefield, MA
    Promotional Products Sales: $118.7 million

    Workforce: 450
    Years in Industry: 26
    Privately held
    Bob Siemering, CEO



    Cyrk was founded in 1976 as a manufacturer of screen-printed apparel and accessories. It became the largest diversified marketing services firm in the nation. In February 2001, Cyrk sold its Corporate Promotions Group to a private equity firm that re-launched Cyrk under the same name. Today, by integrating design, merchandising, technology and services, Cyrk helps companies promote their brands more effectively through the design of integrated merchandising and marketing programs. Headquartered in Wakefield, MA, Cyrk serves many Fortune 1000 companies and industry-leading brand marketers.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes. Negatively.

  9. Proforma (asi/300094)
    Cleveland
    Promotional Products Sales: $118 million

    Workforce: 653
    Years in Industry: 11
    Privately Held
    Greg Muzzillo, Founder and CEO
    Alan Chippindale, President



    Founded in 1978, Proforma is a full-service provider of promotional products, printing and e-solutions with more than 600 independently-owned offices in the United States and Canada.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It had a strong, positive impact on our business. Proforma is a network of independent distributors who work together to create marketing clout, strong supplier relationships and share the costs of overhead while still owning and controlling their own independent businesses. 2001 brought the end of over 10 years of unbridled economic expansion. More than ever, distributors are seeking ways to grow their sales, reduce their expenses and increase their profits. Some considered the solutions membership in the Proforma network can offer. In 2001 we had a record number of new members. 

  10. Bensussen Deutsch & Associates Inc. (asi/37616)
    Woodinville, WA
    Promotional Products Sales: $114.8 million
    Woodinville, WA
    Workforce: 350
    Years in Industry: 18
    Privately Held
    Jay Deutsch, President/CEO
    Eric Bensussen, Vice President/COO



    Founded in 1984 by Bensussen and Deutsch, BD&A provides clients with an integrated suite of merchandise services including corporate promotions, sales promotions, retail programs, consumer products and sports and entertainment marketing. Through these channels, BD&A’s goal is to develop strategies that strengthen and extend its clients’ branding efforts, enhance their corporate identity, and ultimately deliver a physical representation of their brand message. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    In a year of economic downturn such as 2001, it’s impossible for any marketing-driven organization to not feel any impact. For the first time in our 18-year history, we did not experience growth but instead remained flat in our revenues. However, this was a small victory; there may have been a decrease in some areas of merchandise spending, others showed growth. Our clients challenged us to show them the value of merchandise. We did, and feel it will lead to future growth. The climate also forced us to review our own business systems and resources. This year was our best in streamlining our entire company and really positioned us for an extremely healthy, prosperous future. 

  11. The Beanstalk Group Inc. (asi/155460)
    Troy, MI
    Promotional Products Sales: $112 million

    Birmingham, MI
    Workforce: 72
    Years in Industry: 24
    Jon Sloan, President
    Linden Nelson, CEO



    Beanstalk offers a link to a broad array of brand marketing products. It offers distinct in-house departments, each collectively working toward one goal, to provide clients with a resourceful marketing package. Services include promotional merchandise; consumer promotions; retail promotions/merchandise; licensed products; custom products; fulfillment; catalog/brochure design; online marketing solutions; recognition awards and incentives; creative services; seasonal enhancements; safety programs; calendar programs; product design; brand identification/value.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    The economy and other sad events through 2001 effected everyone’s business in some way. While clients were looking to spend less, they were also looking to spend smarter. This means identifying companies who can provide brand creativity, not just logo-slapping, and deliver overall value that drives economies of scale to our clients. The economic climate forced us to look at every aspect of our. This has enabled us to grow in 2002.

  12. Mid West Trophy Manufacturing Co. (asi/270880)
    Del City, OK
    Promotional Products Sales: $90 million
    Workforce: 850 (E)
    Years in Industry: 31
    Privately Held
    David R. Smith, CEO


    MTM, which includes the former Jostens Recognition division (acquired in 2001) provides products and services that help celebrate achievement, reward performance, recognize service and commemorate experiences. It specializes in programs for mid-size companies and customized programs for large companies. For 20 years, MTM was a strategic supplier to Jostens, and is now licensed to produce and distribute products under the Jostens brand name. MTM also managed a customer service center and provided sales support, creative services, product design and development for Jostens sales reps and clients. In addition to the operation in Princeton, IL, MTM has seven North American manufacturing plants, and a location in Toronto.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    If anything, it affected it in a positive way in that the need for recognition has grown due to the downturn in the economy. Employers are looking for ways to boost morale, retain good employees and show them they’re valued in this very volatile time. Executives know that no matter what happens in the economy, the number one need of an employee is to be appreciated. In that sense, our industry will always be an important part of today’s business climate.

  13. Tic Toc 
    Dallas
    Promotional Products Sales: $84 million
    Workforce: 145
    Years in Industry: 28
    Privately Held
    Kevin Lippincott, CEO



    Tic Toc actually began with Case Dunlap Enterprises Inc., a distributorship founded in 1974. Over the years, Case expanded its reach and added strategic competencies by acquiring and merging with established promotional services businesses. Not long after being acquired by Omnicom Group, there was a goal to reflect a comprehensive approach and simplify client access. Case, Promark, Promotional Services Group, Imagination Co. and other component groups were unified in March 2001 under a single brand platform: Tic Toc. Tic Toc offers one point of contact for all marketing efforts. It’s based in Dallas with offices in the San Francisco and Pittsburgh areas.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    (Declined to answer.)

  14. Summit Marketing Group
    St. Louis
    Promotional Products Sales: $80 million
    Workforce: 345
    Years in Industry: 6
    Privately Held
    Daniel J. Renz, CEO



    Summit was founded in 1996. It currently operates six subsidiaries: Summit-Barkley House, Summit-FM, Summit-Nevins, Summit-Gardner & Geldmacher, Summit-Harper and Summit-Phoenix. Summit offers a wide range of services for clients, including corporate identity, catalog fulfillment, sales promotional marketing, licensing agreements, graphic design and sourcing of proprietary promotional products domestically and internationally. Through its direct marketing segment, it offers strategic analysis and creative business-to-consumer and business-to-business direct marketing and database services.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It clearly had an adverse effect on our overall business. We started to see an overall pullback in project commitments in the spring, greatly accelerated by the uncertainty generated in the aftermath of September 11. Fortunately, most of our clients are remaining active in the market, but decreasing the per unit budgets. We continue to experience decreased spending levels from most clients as they look for clear economic signals that a firm recovery is taking hold and their own profitability will be restored.

  15. The Vernon Co. (asi/351700)
    Newton, IA
    Promotional Products Sales: $73.3 million

    Workforce: 800 
    Years in Industry: 100
    Privately Held
    William F. Vernon, Chairman/CEO
    Chris P. Vernon, President/COO



    F. L. Vernon founded the Economy Record Book Co., the predecessor to Vernon, in Newton in 1902. The first products were imprinted farm-record books and, later, metal items such as kitchen match-holders. The company was publicly held from 1958-1986, but was always controlled by the Vernon family.Vernon markets sales-incentive, corporate identity, anniversary and safety programs, and manufactures pressure-sensitive signs, apparel, cutlery, gift merchandise and advertising specialties. It company has two subsidiaries: Dun-Lap Manufacturing Co., a screen-processor specializing in product identification applications and Vernon/SAL, a New Jersey-based screen processor, specializing in point-of-sale programs and digital graphics. In 2001, Vernon bought Mar-Kal Products, a 40-year-old family business specializing in pressure-sensitive screen graphics for the transportation and utility markets. 

    It was subsequently merged into the graphics and Dun-Lap operations. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We first began to feel the economic cycle change in July 2000 as many of our major customer segments (transportation, construction, technology, agricultural) began to slow down purchasing activities because of soft economic conditions in their markets. We felt that our sales decline in 2001 was punctuated by a loss of a number of large orders due to restructuring moves by some of our Fortune 500 clients. Many of these large orders are also below our normal profit thresholds. Thus, our gross margin actually improved in 2001 compared to the prior year.

  16. National Pen Corp. (asi/281040)
    San Diego
    Promotional Products Sales: $66 million

    Workforce: 65
    Years in Industry: 33
    Privately Held
    Thomas Liquori, President
    Mike Delaney, Senior Vice President/Marketing



    National Pen was established in 1966 by Alfred Liguori and Paul Stabile as a subsidiary of Modern Mold and Tool International Inc. MMTI changed its name to Internet Design Technology Inc. in 2000. The company was one of the first manufacturers of ball-point pens. National Pen has built its business on personalization and decoration. National Pen considers itself the premiere printer of four-color graphics in the world. The company markets its products in 14 countries with production facilities in the U.S., Ireland and Mexico. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Business was brisk in spring 2001 and slowed slightly into the summer. September 11 had a major impact on sales, as did the Anthrax scare. The mail-order portion was off 30% in all segments in the first two weeks. Telemarketing sales were off but not nearly to the same extent. In October, sales picked up, and we closed the year very well. Two-thousand and one was very challenging, but like the country we had to get on with the business of doing business. 

  17. Brown & Bigelow Inc. (asi/148500)
    St. Paul, MN
    Promotional Products Sales: $62.5 million (E)
    Workforce: 900
    Years in Industry: 106
    Privately Held
    William D. Smith, President/CEO



    Founded in 1896, Brown & Bigelow operates two distinct divisions under one corporate entity. The company’s supplier division, Hotline Products, manufactures the Hotline and Classicline calendars and sells through distributors. The company’s distributor division and company namesake supports 350 promotional product sales professionals in their local markets through a network of full service support centers. In early 2001, the company sold its retail division, Hoyle Products, and reinvested the proceeds in the company’s calendar manufacturing and promotional products division.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    The economy is finally looking up. Last year at this time, our economy was at the top of its business cycle, and we were fighting a slowdown all year. When September 11 hit, it accelerated the slowdown. Fortunately, that’s the time of year we reach the peak of our calendar sales, so the momentum tended to moderate the slippage. We ended the year down 2.8%. Regardless of the economy, American business still must move its production, so businesses are looking for ideas that will help them do a better job. In our industry, we have a direct, long-lived, personal and useful answer to a business person’s question, “How do I get more customers and increase sales?”

  18. Newton Manufacturing Co. (asi/283300)
    Newton, IA
    Promotional Products Sales: $62 million
    Workforce: 900
    Years in Industry: 93
    Privately Held
    Jerome Hoxton, President 



    Newton was established in 1909 by George Newton as a promotional products manufacturer before becoming an exclusive industry distributor in the early ’40s. The company currently supports an independent sales force of approximately 800 reps selling throughout the continental United States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Newton handles all types of promotional advertising orders, including co-op and corporate fulfillment programs. It also owns a subsidiary company in Pella, IA.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    The economy of 2001 produced a variety of issues, challenges and positive results. After 9/11, large corporations restricted purchases for about 60 days. However, following that period, activity resumed at a strong pace and actually showed increase over the prior year. Corporate program activity also increased in November. Purchases of items with patriotic themes were significant and contributed to an improved sales year. Since November 1, 2001, our sales have been up. The general trend of the U.S. economy did have a slowing effect during 2001, but stronger promotions offered to Newton reps offset initial sluggishness.

  19. Kaeser & Blair Inc. (asi/238600)
    Batavia, OH
    Promotional Products Sales: $61.8 million

    Workforce: 128
    Years in Industry: 108
    Privately Held
    Kurt R. Kaeser, President/CEO
    Gregg Emmer, vice President of sales & marketing



    Kaeser & Blair originally opened as the Cincinnati Printing and Paper Products Co. in 1894. Dutch Kaeser and Bill Blair purchased it in 1923 and expanded sales by launching the concept of selling its products through a national network of independent salespeople. Promotional products were added over the years. Kaeser & Blair prides itself on providing its dealers with exceptional programs and outstanding service. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It added challenges that reinforced our mission of providing the best possible service to our family of independent dealers. It allowed us to strengthen existing relationships and create new ones based on providing reliable service and solid beneficial programs. This provided positive results and positioned us for future growth.

  20. Wood Associates (asi/363147)
    Santa Clara, CA
    Promotional Products Sales: $61 million
    Workforce: 165
    Years in Industry: 17
    Publicly held 
    Monte D. Wood, President and CEO



    Wood Associates, an iPrint Technologies company, is a leading provider of online and offline marketing and customized branding solutions. iPrint and Wood merged in 2001, creating a company with the ability to fully integrate customers, vendors, sales and distribution facilities with full-service e-commerce, workflow management and online art/design tools. With a network of offices nationwide, iPrint works with more than 200 organizations. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We saw a decrease in revenues due to generally lowered spending on promotional merchandise in many of our geographic markets, and substantially lower spending from high-tech companies that were a significant portion of our business. 

  21. Taylor Corp. (parent firm)
    North Mankato, MN
    Promotional Products Sales: $58.2 million (E)
    Workforce: Unknown
    Years in Industry: 27
    Privately Held
    Brad Schreier, CEO
    Paul Schleich, President, Direct Mail Group



    A management group of approximately 70 independently operated divisions, Taylor was founded in 1948 by William Carlson. It has two distributor divisions within the industry. The bulk of the other divisions and related firms are composed of, for the most part, social and business-to-business commercial printing (thermography, engraving, and prom/banquet/party supplies sold on a wholesale basis).

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We experienced a relatively good year, and saw our sales increase. Our expectations at the beginning of the year were higher, but we certainly saw repercussions of the September tragedy. We feel many companies are still seeking advertising solutions that make sense during times of recession.

  22. JII Promotions Inc. (asi/232427)
    Columbus, OH; Coshocton, OH
    Promotional Product Sales: $57 million

    Workforce: 700
    Years in Industry: 113
    Privately Held
    Rick Prather, President/CEO
    Dan Harms, Vice President/ COO Distributorship



    JII is a distributor of promotional products, including proprietary calendars evolved from lines produced in the past by the Thos. D. Murphy Co., Shaw Barton and Shedd-Brown. JII approaches the market with a multi-tiered sales organization working with clients with product-driven dropship needs; full service programs requiring cataloging and fulfillment services including company store, corporate identity, safety, and recognition programs; and custom calendar programs. JII’s offerings are supported by client Web sites it develops and hosts on behalf of the client. The Columbus facility is focused on sales, marketing, customer service for corporate program accounts, and the site of its client showroom. The Coshocton facility is the primary manufacturing plant for calendars, houses corporate administrative functions, provides customer service and administration for promotional products, and program fulfillment services.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    JII began seeing the first hints of the economy slowing in September 2000. The fourth quarter of 2000 was robust but not nearly so much as in past years. The first three quarters of 2001 were off, and attributed primarily to the general condition of the economy. Discussions with suppliers seemed to indicate that we were faring as well as many and better than most. The tragedy of September 11 put sales into a tailspin for several weeks. They never fully recovered during the fourth quarter, though activity continued to pick up throughout.

  23. Jack Nadel Inc. (asi/279600)
    Culver City, CA
    Promotional Products Sales: $54.3 million

    Workforce: 252
    Years in Industry: 49
    Privately Held
    Marty Nadel, President



    JNI was founded in 1953 by Jack Nadel. It continues to be a leading-edge com-pany merchandising promotional products and developing full-scale promotional campaigns for the areas of distribution channels, trade shows, sales incentives and more. Graphic art personnel and studios are maintained in many offices. Additionally, each JNI office also includes account coordinators to maintain communication with vendors and clients and to assist the account executives in all areas of program development, product research and lead development.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes, the economic climate affected us the last quarter of the year, mostly triggered by the 9/11 tragedy. We have seen a turnaround in the first two months of 2002.

  24. American Business Forms Inc. (asi/120075)
    Glenwood, MN
    Promotional Products Sales: $42 million
    Workforce: 350
    Years in Industry: 21
    Privately Held
    Larry Zavadil, President/CEO



    American Business Forms started operations in Glenwood in 1981. Since its inception, it has focused on several key market segments with a concentration on offering a wide array of products and services. In July 2000 the company became employee owned. Larry Zavadil, the founder continues to lead the company as president/CEO. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes. We saw a decrease in the size of our average invoice.

  25. Artcraft & Foremost Inc.
    Moorestown, NJ
    Promotional Products Sales: $39.8 million
    Workforce: 50
    Years in Industry: 55
    Privately Held
    Judith E. Zimmerman, President



    Founded in 1947 as Artcraft calendar Co., Artcraft & Foremost specializes in the pharmaceutical and health care industries. It develops medically relevant products and provides value based buying systems for the medical industry. Its direct mail division, Health Promotions Now, serves the healthcare market and several other communities with a variety of stock and proprietary products.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It affected us in a negative manner. The year began very strongly, but started to sputter in August prior to September 11. Many clients immediately cut budgets, while delaying existing projects. We were fortunate to have had such a great start, enabling us to achieve a small increase in sales for the year. But make no mistake: conditions in the market after the attack were and continue to be weak.

  26. Renaissance Promotions (asi/307074)
    Delran, NJ
    Promotional Products Sales: $36.2 million
    Workforce: 25
    Years in Industry: 27
    Privately Held
    Lora Dunnigan, President



    Renaissance, originally Action Calendars, was renamed in 1997. The company is a full-service distributor providing graphic arts, Web development, warehousing and fulfillment programs.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    2001 was a very good year for us. We built upon our existing relationships and maintained our focus of putting customers first. We did begin to see the lag effect of September 11 and the economy as a whole in the first quarter of 2002.

  27. Goldman Promotions (asi/209700)
    St. Louis
    Promotional Products Sales: $32.6 million

    Workforce: 145
    Years in Industry: 42
    Privately Held
    Kenneth Goldman, Chairman



    Goldman is a full-service merchandising and marketing services company. It was founded in 1960 by Sam Goldman and is still run by the Goldman family. Today Goldman has regional offices in eight states. It has developed a reputation for innovation and creativity. In addition to traditional promotional products, it offers graphic design services, CD-Rom products, Web site design and complete fulfillment services.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    2001 was very unusual. We sensed a slowdown in the economy last summer. The after-effects of September 11 were very dramatic. As a company, we were very fortunate to have a few large accounts in sectors of the economy not seriously effected by the slowdown. Combined, these fourth-quarter promotions gave us a real boost, as a result our booked sales in 2001 were slightly higher than 2000.

  28. Caliendo Savio Enterprises Inc. (asi/155807)
    New Berlin, WI
    Promotional Products Sales: $34.8 million
    Workforce: 16
    Years in Industry: 22
    Tom Savio, CEO



    CSE is a family-owned company specializing in catalog programs, fulfillment, embroidery, importing and e-commerce solutions. It currently handles more than 50% of its business via the Internet and ships over 93% of all program orders complete within 24 hours. Its in-house embroidery, digitizing, creative, and Web site development services allow it to be a full service resource. CSE has been recognized for outstanding service and has received the Miller Brewing Co.’s “Partners in Excellence” and the Matco Tools “Achievement” Awards. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    As business grew in 2001, we saw three significant developments in the promotional products industry: A shift in product mix; an increased drive to reduce costs through e-commerce initiatives; and client demand for value. Sales of high-end brand merchandise, custom-manufactured pieces, and items under $5 soared, while the middle tier of products virtually disappeared. This goes hand-in-hand with the increased demand for value. Two-thousand and one was also the year clients began truly examining soft costs and looking for more efficient ways to purchase not only promotional products, but all goods and services. Companies that continue to focus on quality, service, and industry leading e-commerce solutions will emerge from the current economic climate stronger than before.


  29. Atlas Pen & Pencil Corp. (asi/127000)
    Hollywood, FL
    Promotional Products Sales: $31 million
    Workforce: 250
    Years in Industry: 62
    Privately Held
    Robert Schneider, CEO 
    Eric Schneider, President



    Started in 1940, Atlas sells a full line of advertising specialty products via mail -order to a wide variety of businesses nationwide.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We experienced a noticeable slowdown in 2001 due to the 9/11 incident. Many customers seemed to have resumed their usual buying habits in 2002.

  30. Helm Promotions Inc. (asi/223630)
    Highland Park, MI
    Promotional Products Sales: $30.6 million
    Workforce: 273
    Years in Industry: 32
    Privately Held
    Dennis Gusick, President/CEO
    Bob Malkiewicz, Vice President, Sales/Marketing



    Helm was established in 1943 and entered the promotional merchandising business in 1970. In addition to its office and warehouse in the Detroit area, it has a sales office in Orange County, CA. Helm offers sourcing, creative design, e-commerce, warehousing and fulfillment. Its specialization is company store programs for Fortune 1000 companies. It won Ford Motor Co.’s “2000 Marketing Excellence” award. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We felt the effect of a fourth-quarter slowdown on the part of our corporate clients. Some was attributed to September 11 as well as restructuring within client organizations. 

  31. Gary Mandel Promotional Concepts (asi/260340)
    Santa Monica, CA
    Promotional Products Sales: $30.1 million
    Workforce: 37
    Years in Industry: 25
    Privately Held
    Gary Mandel, President



    Founded in 1976 by Mandel, GMPC has grown into a full-service product design, global sourcing company that develops and creates products to achieve promotional marketing solutions for its clients. The firm believes in honesty, integrity and fair treatment of customers and suppliers. The demands of our customers for diverse and affordable merchandise of this quality can only be met by the continuous development of a sourcing base that is increasingly flexible, diverse, and global in scope.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    The economic climate reinforced the need for us to continuously review our client base, operational efficiencies and purchasing resources. We did not process marginally sound orders for the sake of increasing sales, but focused on maintaining excellent customer service and follow through of orders. 

  32. Executive Greetings Inc. 
    New Hartford, CT
    Promotional Products Sales: $29 million 
    Workforce: Unknown 
    Years in Industry: 46
    Privately Held
    Rich Nelson, Director of Marketing



    Executive Greetings is composed of Baldwin-Cooke Co., a distributor of desk diaries, pocket planners, business greeting cards and personalized executive gifts; and Curtis-Rand Industries, a similar distributor.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    Yes, it impacted our mail-order business. Customers are not reordering at the same percentages and new business is harder to find.

  33. Merit Industries Inc. (asi/268100)
    Austin, TX
    Promotional Products Sales: $28.8 million
    Workforce: 37
    Years in Industry: 46
    Privately Held
    Herb Piller, President



    Started by Piller in 1956, Merit has worked with Mobil, Shell, Texaco, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and M&M. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not? 

    Business from existing clients was down 15% to 20%, but we were motivated and went out and got a lot of new customers.

  34. Imperial Marketing Inc. (asi/230430)
    Southfield, MI
    Promotional Products Sales: $27.1 million
    Workforce: 90
    Years in Industry: 18
    Privately Held
    Jay Slavsky, President
    Ray Deegan, Executive Vice President



    Imperial specializes in corporate/brand merchandising programs, service awards, event merchandising, incentive programs, logoed and promotional products, and fulfillment. With over 90 full-time employees, Imperial is able to provide services in sales, marketing, purchasing, customer service, program administration, e-commerce, Web design, information technologies and graphic arts. Imperial serves a diverse client base throughout the United States and Europe.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It had a positive impact on our business. It forced us to challenge how we do business and continually improve our operations to become more cost conscious. The promotional products business is all about creativity, quality, service and delivery. Due to budget reductions and company cost-savings efforts, we have had to be even more creative in the products used to support our clients’ business while not hindering quality, service and delivery.

  35. Konik & Co. (asi/244815)
    Skokie, IL
    Promotional Products Sales: $25 million (E)
    Workforce: 23
    Years in Industry: 26
    Privately Held
    Stan Konik, President



    Konik was started in 1990 by Stan Konik. The firm is family-run and has a diverse clientele, offering incentive programs and a limited number of co-ops. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not? 

    The events of 9/11 did affect us for approximately two months. It was a time of uncertainty for all businesses in the United States. Ours has picked up within the last few months and we look forward to our future earnings being either the same or better than last year.

  36. SFI Corp. (asi/333647)
    Glen Allen, VA
    Promotional Products Sales: $22.9 million
    Workforce: 350
    Years in Industry: 75
    Privately Held
    Robert Wesley, President



    Established in 1927, SFI has grown through a managed account program into a major distributor of promotional products and providers of service-award programs. Its one-stop shop offering includes commercial printing, business documents, corporate stationery products, office supplies, statement processing, direct mail and fulfillment services. SFI maintains a network of 60 sales offices.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It led to both shortfalls and opportunities. Fortunately, our supply chain management solution, coupled with our experience in promotional product sourcing, gave us the value proposition bottom-line focus clients wanted.

  37. Barker Advertising Specialty Corp. (asi/132690)
    Cheshire, CT
    Promotional Products Sales: $22.5 million
    Workforce: 100
    Years In Industry: 35
    Privately Held
    Gerry Barker, President



    Barker traces its roots to 1947 when Rudolph Pick showed Herb Barker a Curvex ruler – a ruler printed on a Venetian blind slat. Pick proclaimed product marketing would be the wave of the future. After years of road selling, Barker built an office/showroom and warehouse in 1966. Barker has on-premises engraving, pad printing and hot-stamping in order to meet any needed production requirements. Four full-time artists and three Webmasters allow it to handle complete catalog fulfillment programs.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It had a negative impact on business. A number of customers declared bankruptcy. Many cancelled trade shows and travel plans. Some put off marketing campaigns. However, it also had a positive effect. Many customers had to cut back on expensive radio or TV campaigns and put their marketing dollars into promotional products. In addition, many companies, dealing with morale and staffing issues, used promotional products to rejuvenate their companies.

  38. Spartan Promotional 
    Group Inc. (asi/331150)
    Oakdale, MN
    Promotional Products Sales: $22.0 million
    Workforce: 125
    Years in Industry: 36
    Privately Held
    Phyllis A. Hohenwald, President
    Michael Hohenwald, Executive Vice President



    Founded in 1966, Spartan has grown from a small, family-owned business to a large, national company. Its national sales team of 80 sales account reps in 25 states has many years of experience working with clients of various sizes in all major markets. Spartan offers complete turnkey merchandising services, including program conception, execution and fulfillment.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It had an adverse effect not only on us but the industry as a whole as well as many other industries. The economy had been spiraling downward prior to 9/11 with the fall of the market. The tragedy magnified the shortcomings for 2001. Signs of a recovery are evident and we anticipate a return to a stronger economy very soon.

  39. Shumsky Enterprises (asi/326300)
    Dayton, OH
    Promotional Products Sales: $21.1 million
    Workforce: 22
    Years in Industry: 49
    Privately Held
    Michael Emoff, President



    Hy Shumsky founded Shumsky Enter-prises in 1953. It remains a family-owned business. Shumsky creates unique and proprietary product lines such as Outta The Box Point of Sale Dispensers, Service Awards ONLINE and Therapeu-tic Pillows.

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    We were definitely affected. Promotional products orders can be postponed, and we felt that last year. Sales are slowly starting to regenerate. The fact that we are still one of the Top 40 distributors even with our sales being down in 2001 tells me that everyone in our industry was affected.

  40. Zouire LLC (asi/366094)
    Merriam, KS
    Promotional Products Sales: $20.9 million
    Workforce: 26
    Years In Industry: 4
    Privately Held
    Joe Dellasega, President



    Zouire was created from a combining of three promotional products companies: Tandem Marketing, KayCee Enterprises and Zouire. The new corporation has its sales and marketing headquarters in Kansas City, MO and operations and warehousing in Pittsburg, KS. 

    Did the economic climate of 2001 affect your business? If so, how? If not, why not?

    It did affect our business negatively with some customers, as budgets were cut back and spending was slowed. However, because of our diverse national account base, we had some companies with significant sales increases. 

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The Counselor's State Of The Industry 2002