Category Archives: Industry News

Hub Pen Hires Business Systems Support Analyst Terese Cook

Hub Pens

Braintree, MA, November, 2017 – Hub Pen Company is pleased to announce the hiring of seasoned IT specialist Terese Cook as Business Systems Support Analyst.  Terese comes to Hub after 17 years with international IP video company Piksel. “I mapped business processes to system functionality for a variety of end users with Piksel,” says Terese.  “Here at Hub I’ll be improving the business processes throughout both Hub and Beacon Promotions, both as an analyst and project manager. I love the people here, and the projects I’m working on.  It’s fun!”

“We feel very fortunate that we were able to find someone of Terese’s caliber to join our team,” says IT Software Manager Glenn Walker.  “Her wealth of knowledge has already made a substantial impact and I’m confident that Terese will play a key role in Hub’s success as we continue to grow.”

Terese Cook

Terese Cook

About HUB:
Boston has been described as the “Hub of the Universe” and in the Hub Pen story the same holds true. From Frank and Rita Fleming’s humble beginnings in Boston in 1954 to the 100 million pen annual operations of today, Hub Pen has grown to serve an ever -increasing national and international market.  Our customers have rated us “A+” on the SAGE rating system and 5 out of 5 stars on ESP.  For more information on Hub Pen, visit our website at hubpen.com or call customer service at 800-388-2323.

About Beacon:
Beacon is a multiple Star Supplier Winner with a great reputation for service.  Our customers have rated us “A+” on  SAGE and 5 out of 5 stars on ESP.   Beacon offers a wide selection of products, such as:  Calendars, table covers, housewares, tools, techie, auto, highlighters and Name badges.  You will also find premium leather products in our Canyon Outback Leather line and Name Brand products for executive gifts and incentives.   For more information on Beacon, visit our website at beaconpromotions.com or call customer service at 800-628-9979.

From the Desktop to the Desert: DistributorCentral at the IMAGEN Brands promoXperience

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From the Desktop to the Desert…
Last week I had the opportunity to participate in what was dubbed as the “Inaugural IMAGEN Brands promoXperience.” Organized and sponsored by IMAGEN’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Dana Zezzo, the event was designed as a networking event “away from the boardrooms and bars” combined with a product field testing event. To add to the adventure factor, the networking and field testing would go down over the course of 48 hours during a Ragnar Trail Relay in the middle of the desert outside of Tempe, Arizona.

Sounds a little different than a round of drinks with clients at Eye Candy, right?

Are you crazy?
In trying to explain the event to colleagues at the office I was met with everything from a blank stare to an all-around questioning of my sanity.

You’re going to run through the desert, at night?

Well, yes…and during the day too.

You’re going to camp? In a tent? With a bunch of guys, most of whom you’ve never met?

That’s the plan.

Aren’t there snakes in the desert?

Well, sure…but usually you can hear the rattlesnakes before you see them, which is good, right?

Ragnar or Bust
I set off for the Arizona desert armed with camping clothes, running clothes, a laptop, an auxiliary battery and multiple cameras. There was going to be a lot of sitting around in camp and I figured it would be a great time to work on some projects in between running legs (a virtual blackout of cellular connectivity in the desert largely negated those plans).

The Team
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I met up with the rest of the team in a parking lot in Phoenix. Dana Zezzo, who needs no introduction, was our fearless leader. Also from IMAGEN Brands was Ryan Meulemans, whose gazelle-like running prowess would make us all question our pre-race training plans. Kirby Hasseman, distributor extraordinaire, industry content mogul, and also a customer and friend, was in tow. Joe Durham, or “Big Joe” as you might know him, of HALO Branded Solutions rounded out the “above six foot” crowd on our team and provided a constant stream of levity throughout the day and nighttime hours. Proforma’s William “Willy” Adair, fresh off the Boston Marathon, was there to join Ryan at the front of the pack as our pace leaders. Jimmy Visney, of RLK and Associates or, as some of you may know him, captain of “Full Time Swag” where he blogs about life on the road in an RV with his family, provided a continual stream of conversational topics. Finally, Proforma’s Mitchell “Les” Edwards, who, after seeing him sprint out of the starting gate and sprint across the finish line multiple times, earns the award for hardest effort.

Having known only Dana and Kirby prior to landing in Phoenix, the proverbial “social media turns a handshake into a hug” certainly applied to this crew. We went from being recent social/email acquaintances to being teammates and moving into a 20 x 20’ campsite together seamlessly; a few people working on the tent, others setting up chairs and shelters, and others prepping food…and hydration (yeah, those Coleman coolers were full before we set foot in camp).

The Swag
Dana and Ryan passed out products from Crown and Vitronic, as well as apparel from S&S Activewear. And he chose wisely – from the drinkware to the apparel  and the folding chairs to the cool-down collar, I used these products extensively from the time we arrived until the time we left. For a great recap of the products we used be sure to check out Kirby’s post – “Epic Products from the Ragnar promoXperience”.

The Campground
The campground at a Ragnar Trail event is fascinating. Nearly 400 teams – almost 3,000 people – set up camps ranging from the basic to mind-boggling (kudos to the team that built a tiki bar and had a propane-powered fire pit). Ragnar sets up a pretty elaborate village too! A 24-hour wood-fired pizza truck, a coffee truck, medical tent, massage tent, merchandise tent, a campfire, s’more and movie area provided by REI, plus stretching and yoga areas – it’s an impressive setup. Our camp was stocked with all-new gear courtesy of Coleman and IMAGEN Brands and before long our temporary housing was assembled and we set about cooking, eating, “hydrating”, and learning about our teammates (and our neighbors…no conversation is private when you only have 400 square feet to house each team of eight).

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The Race..and the Product Field Testing
At sharply 10am the next morning our team was scheduled to start the race. Kirby was our lead-out runner, followed by me, then Dana, Jim, Joe, William, Les and Ryan. Once all eight runners finished their first leg we moved on to the second leg for each person, and finally a third…24 legs in all, encompassing 124 miles (roughly 15 miles for each of us). My first leg was the “yellow” leg – in theory the second hardest leg – and I’ll readily admit that I was a little under-prepared for the hills and heat (note to self: next time actually train. On hills. And in heat. And on trails. And at night). But I got through it, and ultimately my second and third legs felt a lot better since they occurred at 6pm and 3am, respectively, when the temps in the desert dropped into the 50s.

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Everyone on the team rocked this course and in the end – although we were doing this purely for fun – we were excited to learn that we had finished in 9th place in the men’s division! Given that we just spent 48 hours sleeping under the stars (and really, there wasn’t much sleeping) and running through the desert and over mountains at all time of the day and night, I’m chalking that up as a success.

I ran all three legs in my polyester sport shirt from S&S and my Jersey Mesh Cap from Vitronic and they worked wonderfully. The cooling collar from Crown literally saved me on the hot leg during the day – soak it in ice water and wrap it around your head and it becomes a personal cooling device. Of course, when I got back into camp after the cooler legs at night…I threw on my performance hooded sweatshirt from S&S and dipped into the cooler from Vitronic for some liquid refreshments.

The Networking
In between the running legs there was a lot of talk – industry talk, non-industry talk, project talk…we even broached politics at one point (differing opinions, but a refreshingly jovial and agreeable discussion by everyone). I learned about interesting projects these guys were working on, their thoughts regarding the industry, marketing strategies, technology and more. A few of the guys struck up friendships and passed out cards with our neighbors in the campground after explaining what we do (if there were a prize for best outfitted team…we would have won, hands down). And yes, Kirby and I did get a little business done (more theoretical and planning rather than actual technical work given the lack of cellular connectivity in the desert).

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The promoXperience
All in all the experience was a blast, and I’d definitely consider doing it again in the future. I made five new friends from the distributor side of our industry and had a great time learning about the things they’re working on. There are some cool projects going on out there, and I look forward to connecting and working with them in the future (when, after this event, they’ll no doubt be selling more Crown and Vitronic products). We put some great products through their paces and learned a lot about IMAGEN’s line that I wasn’t aware of before.

The Recaps
Interested in checking out the products we used? Visit promoexperience.distributor-catalog.com. In fact, if you host a website with DistribtutorCentral shoot us an email or give us a call and we’ll show you how to quickly and easily add and feature these products to your ecommerce-enabled website. Of course, if you don’t host a website with us…give us a call and we’ll help get you started!

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Check out all the great products we tested!
promoxperience.distributor-catalog.com

 

For a great write-up about his experience at the event be sure to check out Kirby’s article, “The promoExperience Ragnar Recap.”

For Kirby’s take on the products we used check out his article, “Epic Products from the Ragnar promoXperience.

The Videos
Oh, there’s video too… a great behind the scenes look at our experience at the event assembled by Kirby, and a music video…yes, a music video…that was born out of this off-centered experience.

Check these out and be sure to hit up Dana and Ryan if you want to learn more about products from Crown and Vitronic or if you’re interested in a future promoXperience event!

“Behind the Scenes”

“Runnin’ Through a Stream”

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David Shultz
Vice President, Operations
DistributorCentral, LLC
david@distributorcentral.com | @dshultzkc

Hub Pen Hires CSR Alex Anagnostaras

Hub PensHub Pen Company is pleased to announce the addition of customer service representative Alex Anagnostaras to their award winning team.  The Massachusetts native comes to Hub with a background in customer care starting with his family’s business; then with a local high tech giant; and most recently with a large promotional products distributor.

“As a student of advertising and communications at Framingham State, I came to see just how useful promotional products are to people.  They truly are hands on advertising,” Alex says. “Working with a distributor, I came to love Hub Pen and when the opportunity arose I was eager to come on board.”

“Alex has a really enthusiastic attitude about his work,” Customer Service Manager Chris Ford says.   “His positive energy makes him a great addition to our team.”

Alex Anagnostaras

Alex Anagnostaras

About HUB:
Boston has been described as the “Hub of the Universe” and in the Hub Pen story the same holds true. From Frank and Rita Fleming’s humble beginnings in Boston in 1954 to the 100 million pen annual operations of today, Hub Pen has grown to serve an ever -increasing national and international market.  Our customers have rated us “A+” on the SAGE rating system and 5 out of 5 stars on ESP.  For more information on Hub Pen, visit our website at hubpen.com or call customer service at 800-388-2323.

About Beacon:
Beacon is a multiple Star Supplier Winner with a great reputation for service.  Our customers have rated us “A+” on  SAGE and 5 out of 5 stars on ESP.   Beacon offers a wide selection of products, such as:  Calendars, table covers, housewares, tools, techie, auto, highlighters and Name badges.  You will also find premium leather products in our Canyon Outback Leather line and Name Brand products for executive gifts and incentives.   For more information on Beacon, visit our website at beaconpromotions.com or call customer service at 800-628-9979.

Dard Welcomes Susan Lewandowki

Dard logo

DARD Products is pleased to announce and welcome Susan Lewandowski as Vice President of Marketing and Business Development. Susan will be responsible for the leadership of the DARD sales team, developing new business opportunities and creating customized solutions to customer needs.

Susan is a well-known figure in Promotional Products industry with over 25 years of experience. In addition, Susan has a proven record of facilitating long term business relationships with both customers and industry experts. Her strong winning attitude and personality are assets that will complement and enhance Dard’s ability to meet the needs of our customers as we continue to provide quality, innovative products to the marketplace.

Susan has attended industry leadership conferences including the PPAI National
Leadership, PPAI Women’s Leadership and the ASI Power Summit while networking and building relationships. She has the connections, technical savvy and Integrity to help companies convey their messages. She is also a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a BS in Business Administration and Marketing, and happily resides in Pittsburgh with her husband Steve and four children.

Susan Lewandowski

DARD Products is certified as a women’s business enterprise by the Women’s
Business Enterprise Council (WBENC), the nation’s largest third-party certifier of the businesses owned and operated by women in the United States.

DARD is also a Union Factory Local 777 and is a military/veteran operated facility.

“We are excited and pleased that Susan is now part of the DARD family. Susan will be an integral part in supporting and guiding our distributors who wants to add diversity in their company stores and supply chain.”
– Bonni Shevin Sandy

National Women's Business Enterprise Certification

IMAGEN Brands is pleased to introduce Jerry Bridges as Business Development Manager – Georgia/Tennessee

Image Brands

IMAGEN Brands would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest team member, Jerry Bridges. Bridges has spent the past 20 years in the custom information packaging/printing industry with previous experience in outside sales and in sales management. “My goal is to significantly grow IMAGEN Brands business by offering an exceptional level of service and creative ideas to new and existing customers,” explains Bridges.

With Jerry’s experience and go-getter persona, he will be an exceptional addition to the IMAGEN Brands sales team,” says Ryan Meulemans, District Sales Manager. “We are excited to see him interact with his customers, and look forward to the positive contributions he’ll bring to our sales team.”

Jerry Bridges

Jerry Bridges – Business Development Manager – GA/TN

IMAGEN Brands is pleased to introduce Brandon Moon as Regional Sales Manager – New England

Image Brands

IMAGEN Brands would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest colleague, Brandon Moon. Moon is a fresh face to the industry previously working in golf sales and has experience in wholesale for clothing, screen-printing, and embroidered products. We asked him what his goals are with the company. “Exceeding sales goals and driving new ideas for current clients are very important to me,” explains Moon. “I want my customers to see how endless their possibilities are with IMAGEN Brands.”

We are very excited with the addition of Brandon Moon to the sales team,” says Mike Rubin, District Sales Manager. “He brings an entrepreneurial spirit and positive attributes to the table ready to embrace this fast-paced industry.”

Brandon Moon

Brandon Moon – Regional Sales Manager – New England

 I am looking forward to building strong, long-lasting relationships with my customers and doing everything in my power to grow the New England territory to its full potential.” – Brandon Moon

Starline Announces New Inside Sales Representatives

Starline USA is very pleased to announce two new additions to its inside sales team.

Sodji Tossah has been appointed to the position of Inside Sales Representative covering IL, IN and Southern WI.  Tossah has been with Starline for the past 9 years, working as a Bilingual Customer Care Representative and as a member of the Starline Canadian Inside Sales team.  “Sodji has been a tremendous asset to the Starline family during his successful career with us,” says Nicole Tasca, Inside Sales Manager.  “We’re excited to see him continue to grow with us and to provide top level service to our valued customer base.”  Tossah will be working with Starline Regional Sales Manager Doug Oslance.

Starline also extends a warm welcome to Kathleen Sullivan, who joins the company as the new Inside Sales Representative covering the Northeast (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, PA, MD, DE, VA, WV) and the Southeast Territories (FL, GA, SC, NC, TN, PR). Sullivan joins Starline with over 22 years of sales experience in the IT distribution field. “I enjoy building and fostering the growth of clients’ business ventures,” notes Sullivan.  “I gained exposure to the promotional products environment through my previous sales experience.  That experience as an end-buyer gives me a unique perspective into helping distributors now that I am on the supplier side.”

“Kathleen and Sodji are both strong additions to our inside sales team,” says Jim Bull, VP of Sales.  “As we continue to experience growth, these strategic additions will allow us to maintain sales support as one of our top priorities.”

 

Sodji Tossah

Sodji Tossah

Sodji Tossah
Inside Sales Representative
stossah@starline.com
800-361-7878 x3326

 

Kathleen Sullivan

Kathleen Sullivan

Kathleen Sullivan
Inside Sales Representative
ksullivan@starline.com
800-361-7878 x 3338

About Starline | Starline is a Top 50 supplier in the Promotional Products Industry specializing in quality, high-end gifts. Starline is the home of the patented and award winning TruColor™ digital decoration technique. With locations in Grand Island, NY and Concord, Ontario, Starline remains committed to seamlessly servicing the needs of its North American distributor base. For more information, please visit our website www.starline.com

IMAGEN Brands is pleased to announce the promotion of Debra Remmert as National Accounts Coordinator & Key Account Rep

IMAGEN Brands

Debra (Dee) Remmert, CAS, BASI has been named National Accounts Coordinator & Key Account Rep for IMAGEN Brands – Crown and Vitronic. Remmert brings with her 21 years of experience with the company starting in Customer Service, Inside Sales – Texas/Louisiana and Inside Sales Manager for Vitronic. Her level of sales expertise in working with customers and identifying opportunities for them to capture and grow business is why she has earned this position.

We couldn’t be more excited to have Dee continue to develop within IMAGEN Brands,” says Dana Zezzo, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Her knowledge of the inner workings of both Crown and Vitronic are going to exceed her customers’ expectations of great service and support. Dee’s dedication to IMAGEN Brands customers is utterly refreshing. I look forward to the positive experience you will have when working with her.”

I am excited for this new opportunity! Sales and service is where my heart truly resides. It’s how I fell in love with this industry so it feels like coming home.” – Dee Remmert

 

Debra Remmert

Debra Remmert – Key Account Rep & National Account Coordinator

 www.imagenbrands.com
www.crownprod.com
www.vitronicpromotional.com

Pro Towels Welcomes New Southeast Sales Rep, Nick Chipchase, to the Team

Pro Towels Family

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – October 9, 2017 – The Pro Towels family is pleased to announce a new addition to its sales team. Nick Chipchase with Mac Marketing will cover Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. He will represent products from each company: Pro Towels, Kanata Blanket, Neet Feet and Superior.

Chipchase has been in the promotional products industry for six years and has represented multiple top 40 suppliers during that time. Chipchase states, “I am excited to be partnering up with the Pro Towels brand in the Southeast. I always try to attach myself with companies that are doing things the right way and I love the direction we as a company are headed. I’m excited to be partnering with the best towel and blanket solution in our industry, and look forward to the challenge ahead.”

The Pro Towels family is thrilled to have Nick Chipchase part of the family and is excited to see the new business and relationships that will come about. Nick can be reached at nick@gomacmarketing.com.

Nick Chipchase

Nick Chipchase

About Pro Towels
Pro Towels is the largest towel supplier to the promotional product industry with locations on both the east and west coast. The company offers in-house screen printing and embroidery services to support a broad product line of beach, golf, and sport towels. Additionally, Pro Towels carries bathrobes and other beach accessories to complement its towel line. The Pro Towels family of companies also includes Kanata Blanket Company, a leader in premium blankets, décor and lifestyle products, and Superior, a leader in contract decorating for the promotional products industry for over 30 years. Most recently, the Pro Towels family acquired Neet Feet, a supplier of quality custom logo flip flops and premium footwear.

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HEAVY HEARTS AND THOUGHTS FOR LAS VEGAS FROM PRO TOWELS FAMILY

Pro Towels Family

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA (October 2, 2017) – The Pro Towels family awoke this morning to the tragic news of the mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival just miles away from our West Coast Facility.

Our first priority this morning was the well-being and safety of all the employees from this facility. We have officially confirmed every employee and their families are all safe and were not harmed during this horrific event.

Brian Porter, the Vice President of Sales states, “Understanding a senseless act is asking an impossible task. As we are beyond thankful that our Pro Towels family was not affected, our hearts and prayers go out to all of those in our Las Vegas community that have been. In a time like this, we all want to help, and the current need is for blood donations, so we have scheduled a blood drive to be held at our facility as soon as possible. Thank you again to all those that have reached out to confirm our wellbeing.”

Our hearts are heavy from this terrible event and we will continue to send our condolences out to those affected by this tragedy. If you would like to also provide blood donations at our Las Vegas facility, please contact us for more information on our blood drive.

About Pro Towels
Pro Towels is the largest towel supplier to the promotional product industry with locations on both the east and west coast. The company offers in-house screen printing and embroidery services to support a broad product line of beach, golf, and sport towels. Additionally, Pro Towels carries bathrobes and
other beach accessories to complement its towel line. The Pro Towels family of companies also includes Kanata Blanket Company, a leader in premium blankets, décor and lifestyle products, and Superior, a leader in contract decorating for the promotional products industry for over 30 years. Most recently, the Pro Towels family acquired Neet Feet, a supplier of quality custom logo flip flops and premium footwear.

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