2nd Annual DC Promo Pumpkin Contest

Fall is upon us!  We are dying to see how you can top last year’s winners with the most creative jack-o’-lanterns that incorporate the use of promotional products or your company logo!

To help you get started, request your Pumpkin Carving Scoop by sending an email to dc@distributorcentral.com

Please include your Name, Company Name and Shipping Address.

Pumpkin Carving Scoop sponsored by Illini – Item 3910 – Click for PDF Sales Flyer

Contest Details:

Three categories will have one winner:

  • Overall Most Creative
  • Best Use of Promotional Products
  • Best Representation of Company Logo

All entries will be judged by a panel of creative professionals. Prizes to be announced soon!

Get creative! Carve, paint, draw or even arrange your pumpkins in a setting.

Upload your photo to:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/DistributorCentral
Twitter: Tweet your photo @DistCentral with #DCPromoPumpkin
Instagram: Tag photo @distributorcentral

Submit your photo by Nov 1st, at 12 p.m. ET.

Use Hashtag #DCPromoPumpkin

*Contest open to employees of Distributor & Supplier Members of DC.

2015 Winning Entries:

Introducing Prize Putt from Games People Play Inc.

Duluth, GA – Games People Play, Inc., manufacturer of high quality games including the Prize Wheel, introduces Prize Putt, a new mini golf game.

“Golf games are great fun at many venues,” said Michael Gould, Director of Marketing. “It’s sure to add fun and excitement to any event or trade show.”

Games People Play is based in Duluth, Georgia, at a 52,000 square foot facility, where it employs approximately 25 employees. It has been a manufacturer of molded plastics for many years and expanded into the promotional products industry in 2005.

1600 Cross Pointe Way, Suite D Duluth, GA 30097

Michael Gould

J. Charles Announces New Company Brand


Erlanger, Kentucky, September 12, 2016- J.Charles, (ASI/62985, SAGE/55826, UPIC/ JCHARLES) has unveiled their new logo and business promise, Beautifully Simple. In a statement issued by Barry Dyas, President of supplier J. Charles, “Our new logo and two-word tagline expresses all you need to know about J.Charles.  Born of a less is more approach, our well-designed products confirm the beauty that resides in simplicity. This same philosophy also lives on through our acclaimed customer service. We pride ourselves on taking the complexity out of doing business so that ordering is a pleasure, never a hassle.”

About J. Charles
Headquartered in Erlanger, Kentucky, J. Charles has been recognized as one of the Top 10 leading suppliers of award and recognition in the industry, specializing in crystal awards, gifts, and service that are “Beautifully Simple”.  For more information, visit www.jcharles.com.



Q & A with Bill Petrie

Founder & CEO of brandivate

What’s in your work bag?  Whether it’s a backpack, satchel, or messenger bag, most of us in the promotional product industry are heavily geared up, mainly because we acquire a variety of samples and tech gadgets from not only our own companies we work, but from industry events.

As I sat down for lunch with Bill Petrie from brandivate to discuss this month’s CentralZone article topic, he started unpacking all of his gear, so I asked him to show me what’s in his bag.

What items do you always carry in your backpack?

My Leed’s elleven brandivate backpack always has the following items when I travel. I can’t go anywhere without my earbuds (Leed’s), a microfiber cleaning cloth (Toddy Cloth), a USB holder that I received at last year’s LDW conference, an assortment of pens (Prime/Jetline), 4-in-One charging buddy (HIT) from skucon, and lastly a brandivate cap to leave with a client (Vitronic).

What is the newest promo item you received that you can’t live without?

I am a self-professed serial charger, so I absolutely cannot live without my Juicebox external battery pack by OrigAudio.  I get very nervous when my devices get below 50% battery life. Back in the day my travel revolved around making sure all of my devices were fully charged. When I travel now, I am more relaxed knowing that my devices are fully charged by the time I land.

What is a typical day like at brandivate headquarters?

A typical day in my home office consists of conference calls, content writing and working on client deliverables.  And every Friday I have the pleasure of recording a podcast episode of Unscripted with Kirby Hasseman.

Reigniting the Flame

Sales trainers, managers, and coaches usually spend most of their time discussing strategies for winning new clients. Volumes of books have been written – and many fortunes have been made – dissecting the subject. One topic in sales that isn’t discussed enough is how to reignite the flame with someone who bought from you in the past, but is no longer a customer. This entails more than downloading “dormant customer” into an excel spreadsheet and highlighting the top ten – you first need to make an important decision on each dormant account.

Do you even want the client back?

Let’s face it, not every customer is an ideal client. In fact, many customers can be difficult to work with, my share your ideas with the competition, or habitually pay late. If they fall into any of the categories of clients you should fire that I wrote in the July, 2016 edition of the CentralZone (you can read that article here), it’s not a client you want back.

Once you have a manageable (no more than 10) list of clients you want to reignite, it’s time to execute a strategy:

  1. Understand Why – Before you try to rebuild a relationship, it’s important to understand why they stopped buying from you in the first place. For example, if it was a pricing issue than there is a disconnect between the value you offer beyond simple decorated product and their perception of that value. Even if you fail to bring them back into the client fold, you’ll gain valuable insight that may help you save a future client from leaving.
  2. Accept Responsibility – If you made a mistake (delivery, pricing, billing, PMS match, quality, etc.) accept 100% of the responsibility. Additionally, do everything in your power to fix what went wrong with no assumption that they return as a client. By working to fix an issue from a place of service rather than expectation, you have a much greater chance of winning them back.
  3. Add Value – Marketers and salespeople alike love to extol the fact that they “add value,” but unless you are specific, the phrase is meaningless. Every time the words “add value” are used, it’s critical to add the word “of” and explain what exactly that means. For example, sharing with a former client that you have “realigned resources to ensure we provide each client with the value of cost efficiencies” is far more impactful than saying “we add value to every transaction.”
  4. Leverage Suppliers – Suppliers are a tremendous resource for not just products – but, more importantly, how to position and sell those products. Many times, a well-written case history or a special on a specific product will provide the value a dormant client is seeking.  You can login to your DC account to look up a supplier’s contact information or you can find all of DistributorCental’s current supplier email blast specials at www.dcmkt.com.

There’s an old saying in sales that, paraphrased, states “the day you get land a client is the day you begin to lose them.” Before you try to reignite the buying flame in those lost clients, first determine if you want them back. Once you decided that you do, accept responsibility, share the specific value you add, and leverage your supplier partners to give those dormant accounts a real reason to reengage with you.

Bill Petrie

About brandivate

Bill has over 15 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products distributorships. In 2014, he launched brandivate – the first executive outsourcing company solely focused on helping small and medium sized promotional products enterprises responsibly grow their business.

A featured speaker at numerous industry events, a serial creator of content marketing, Vice President for the Promotional Products Association of the Mid-South (PPAMS), and PromoKitchen chef, Bill has extensive experience coaching sales teams, creating successful marketing campaigns, developing operational policies and procedures, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.

DistributorCentral’s Jason Nokes & David Shultz recognized on Promo’s Top Tech Collaborators & Innovators List

#15 on Industry’s Tech22 List

A list was recently published of the Promo industry’s Top Tech Collaborators & Innovators. Dale Denham, MAS+, CIO, Geiger and Jon Norris, VP of Operations, Starline collaborated to recognize those individuals who are leading the tech charge in our industry with their business strategy and execution utilizing technology.  The Industry “Tech22” recognizes the industry technology leaders based on their technology and business skills. Today’s IT leaders are a different breed as business acumen and the ability to lead people are at least as important as strong technology skills.

Coming in on the list in the #15 spot are DistributorCentral’s Jason Nokes, President and David Shultz VP of Operations.

Jason and David are on the forefront of web, cloud and mobile solutions for companies of all sizes within the industry. The scalable challenges they have faced hosting over 20,000 websites is no easy feat. Early adopters of PromoStandards, they have continued their drive and desire to see industry standardization flourish. For a small distributor, they make it easy.

DistributorCentral was also recognized as PPAI’s 2016 Industry Collaborator Award recipient at this year’s PPAI Technology Summit.

Click for the full #Tech22 List

Bullet Announces Over 70 New Products for the Holidays

MIAMI — August 30, 2016 — Bullet, a leading supplier of low-price promotional products, recently announced its August product launch. This launch includes over 70 new products, with highlights including value-priced offerings in bags, mobile tech, and drinkware, as well as the introduction of their plush line.

“We are thrilled with the assortment of new products we are launching for August,” said Leanne Finney, Vice President of Marketing. “These are high-quality items available at incredibly low prices, therefore providing the great value that customers have come to expect from Bullet.”
August launch highlights include:

In August, Bullet introduced a new category with its selection of plush animals.  Choose from a bear, beaver, lion, elephant, donkey, tiger, or even a hipster bear in the 6” height. There are two different bears at the 8” height.  All of the animals are CPSIA-compliant come with a shirt that is offered in a broad color palette or an ugly Christmas sweater.

Bullet also enhanced its well-established bags collection with several exciting products. They expanded their fast-growing tote category by providing retail-inspired styles using on-trend materials such as metallic, cotton and jute. Examples include the Metallic Jute and Cotton Shopper Tote (SM-7131), Jute Single Bottle Wine Tote (SM-7121) and Metallic Mini Gift Tote (SM7211).

The mobile tech category is another area where Bullet has strengthened its offerings for August. Bullet has the industry’s lowest prices on Bluetooth® accessories with products such as the Bustle Bluetooth® Earbuds (SM-3774) for as low as $9.99 (C) and the Whammo Bluetooth® Speaker (SM-3782) for as low as $5.99 (C).

In drinkware, Bullet introduced several mugs, tumblers and sports bottles. Following retail styles, they have produced drinkware designs found at Bullet first. Some of these Bullet exclusive items include the Stemless Fiesta 18-oz. Tumbler (SM6614) and the Moa 25-oz. Tritan™ Sports Bottle (SM-6881). They also launched a trendy Copper 14-oz. Pint Glass (SM-6599).

With end-of-year giving just around the corner, Bullet also relaunched some of their best-selling holiday items such as the Snowman Kit (SM-2128), Holiday Stocking (SM-2127), Holiday Santa Hat (SM-2125), which make great giveaways.  And Bullet’s insertion service allows for completely customized gifts at on-budget prices when you bundle their products in one of the totes.
For more information on Bullet’s new products for August, please visit www.pcna.com/Bullet.

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About Bullet Bullet is a leading supplier of low-price promotional products, offering deep inventory, reliable service and 24-hour turnaround. Bullet’s wide-ranging selection includes everything from popular products like pens and drinkware to bags and mobile tech, as well as a full line of American-made products. Recognized as the industry’s low-price leader, Bullet also demonstrates a firm commitment to quality. In 2010, Bullet attained membership in the Quality Certification Alliance, a group that promotes quality, safety and integrity among suppliers. With headquarters in Miami, Bullet has delivered high quality at low prices for more than 30 years.

CONTACT: Jennifer Luhmann
PCNA Marketing Specialist
Polyconcept North America
400 Hunt Valley Road  New Kensington, PA  15068
PH:  888-476-5962, ext.3164 jluhmann@pcna.com

PCNA Launches Customizable Online Gift Store for Holiday and Year-End Selling

PITTSBURGH — August 29, 2016 — Polyconcept North America (PCNA), a leading promotional products supplier, has launched a new sales tool called BrandedPromotions.com to help distributor account executives drive holiday and year-end gift sales. With the tool, account executives can customize their own online gift store, featuring over 400 new and best-selling products and apparel pieces from Leed’s, Bullet, Trimark and JournalBooks.  To create a store, distributors can visit PCNA.com and follow a link to a dedicated landing page.

Unbranded and customizable, BrandedPromotions.com allows account executives provide their customers with a one-stop shop for their gifting needs.  Account executives can set up a store quickly with options to upload their company logo, select a color theme, use their headshot and post their contact information.  They can then create their own URL to promote their site to customers.

This online store is designed to replicate the experience customers have shopping in retail.  Features include:

  • Curated collections with gifts that haven been selected and categorized for easy shopping.
  • A function that lets users create a wish list and send the qualified leads directly to the account executive.
  • Original content on topics such as product trends and gifting tips.

“We designed the online gift store with our customers in mind,” said Leanne Finney, PCNA Vice President of Marketing. “Our goal was to create a unique resource that really helps distributor account executives streamline their holiday and year-end business and increase sales.  What’s more, we will be expanding the offering in 2017, so that distributors’ stores are continually refreshed with the newest products and freshest content, giving them tools that will last far beyond the current holiday season.”

For more information, there is a dedicated landing page with a link to set up a BrandedPromotions.com store, answers to frequently asked questions, a how-to video, and a link to PCNA’s 2016 Holiday Look Book, a retail-style guide with products grouped by gift giving occasions, as well as tips and trends. The landing page also has customizable resources that distributors can use to promote their online store.

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About Polyconcept North America

Polyconcept North America (PCNA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Polyconcept, the world’s leading promotional products supplier. With headquarters in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, PCNA operates Leed’s, Bullet, Trimark and JournalBooks. As the corporate home for this diverse group of suppliers, PCNA serves as a single source for the widest selection of hard goods, apparel, cutting-edge decoration and reliable service. For more information, go to www.pcna.com.


Brian O’Gara
PCNA Marketing Specialist
Polyconcept North America
400 Hunt Valley Road
New Kensington, PA  15068
PH:  888-476-5962, ext. 2382

How Wine on Tap is changing the Beverage Marketing Industry

Guest Blog Article by: Marissa Sutter, Motto Inc.
Digital Marketing Coordinator

Walking into any bar, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a line of tap handles displaying what beers are on tap. What if customers could walk into a bar and see a line of handles displaying the various wines on tap? Thanks to the latest trends in the beverage industry, wine on tap is becoming a common staple in bars across the country. Kegged wine is changing the beverage marketing industry due to how wine is being tapped, why companies are tapping wine and what is being done to market this innovation.


Tapping wine is done mechanically, virtually the same as for beer. A keg containing the wine of choice is hooked up to a keg-and-tap system, where gas, usually Nitrogen, is used to push the liquor through under low pressure.

Why Companies Tap Wine-

Speed & Cost:

  • No time spent corking, restocking shelves or recycling bottles.
  • When used for special events, wine on tap has been estimated to save employees over an hour of time that is usually spent transporting and organizing bottles on event premises.
  • Kegged wine doesn’t oxidize or spoil easily, which can reduce waste costs of wine that is normally thrown away.

Green Value:

  • 96% reduction in a company’s carbon footprint over 20 years when using tapped wine compared to wine poured out of bottles.
  • Each steel keg saves 2,340lbs of trash from the landfill over its’ lifetime, giving tapped wine an eco-friendly appeal.

Marketing Tapped Wine with Tap Handles- Anglia Ruskin at University in Cambridge, England, conducted a study tracking the eye movement of goggle-wearing pub-goers and their reactions to tap handles.

  • Participant’s eyes were drawn to tap handles before any other piece of marketing.
  • 95% of participants picked brightly colored tap handles attached to guest taps, over the bar’s own best-selling brand.
  • The study was able to verify that drinkers will make an “appearance-only” decision when faced with a slew of unknown choices.

Custom Tap Handles- Many bars and restaurants are doing more than just selling wine from a keg; they are marketing with custom tap handles.

  • Custom tap handles allow for bars/restaurants to market variations like:
    • Seasonal Flavors
    • Special Events
    • Frequent Changes to On-Tap Menus
    • Customization on Multiple Tappers
  • Companies are able to design handles to fit their brand by choosing from stock shapes or customizing a shape all their own.
  • Digitally printing on tap handles allow for recreations of full bottle images.

Custom tap handles have become a popular marketing strategy for new beverage products, especially when introducing wine on tap within a bar or restaurant. Tapping and marking wine in a keg could provide more payback to companies than just the monetary and ecological benefits that kegged wine already provides to the changing beverage industry.

View Custom Beer & Wine Taps from Motto Inc.


Inc. Magazine released their 35th annual Inc. 5000 list, an exclusive ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, and ranked Pop! Promos number 135 with growth of over 2,600% in the past 3 years.

The list represents the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy–America’s independent entrepreneurs. Companies such as Yelp, Pandora, Dell, LinkedIn and many other well-known names gained early exposure as members of the Inc. 5000.

When asked about her company’s honor, Erin Reilly, CEO of Pop! Promos said, “Since starting the business only a few years ago, it is a company’s dream of making it onto the Inc. 5000 list. Without the determination and hard work from our entire team on a daily basis, we couldn’t have accomplished this achievement.”

Company Overview

Pop! Promos was started by best friends, Sterling Wilson and Erin Reilly, while they were in college on opposite sides of the country. In order to continue the business upon graduation, they needed to open an office and hire a few employees. They both agreed Philadelphia was the best place for them to find the young talent to turn this small business into the multimillion-dollar company it is today.

Since moving to Philadelphia, Sterling and Erin have hired many young professionals, expanded Pop! Promos line to 16 products, and opened two more offices, in China and India.