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September/October 2017 Newsletter Print

President's Column


UMAPP and the Importance of Service


Happy selling season!! This is crunch time in our industry.  Suppliers are out on the road working hard on tradeshows in a variety of venues and incarnations. Distributors are busy meeting with clients to either start the process or finalizing what they would like to give employees, customers, etc., for the gift-giving season. This is prime time baby and I hope everyone is doing well and keeping their “head above water” and it is a successful fall season for everyone.

UMAPP is very busy with several events, elections and a variety of end-of-the-year tasks.  We are kicking off the UMAPP Fire and Ice Show at US Bank Stadium planning with our first committee meeting on September 21 at the Radisson Red in downtown Minneapolis along with a tour of US Bank Stadium.  We have a vibrant and enthusiastic group of volunteers assisting at making this a fantastic event for 2018 (May 9 to be exact)!!

Additionally, our Professional Development committee is hosting a seminar on technology along with a Craft Brewery Social on October 4 in St Paul.  The technology session will be presented by Terri Sparkman of SAGE.   The event starts at 2.00 pm on October 4 at PAIKKA (pronounced “PICA”) Event Center (550 Vandalia St., St Paul, MN 55114) with the seminar and continues immediately after just next door at Lake Monster Brewing Company with a tour, beer tasting and networking.  There is a food truck on site and UMAPP will provide a voucher towards the purchase of food.  The fee is $25 for members ($35 for nonmembers) and we are really looking forward to a great afternoon.

Finally, we are in the process of voting for suppliers for the Room Show coming up in February and selecting new board members for 2018-2020.  We need one supplier representative and one distributor member for the board for a 2-year commitment.  We have two candidates for the supplier spot and one for the distributor spot.  This brings me to the meat of my column!!

I am thrilled that the people that are running have put their name in the hat, but I must tell you that I am disappointed that more of our fellow members (over 485+ companies) have not considered or reached out to run for the board.  I have racked my brain over the last several weeks to figure out why people are not deciding to give it a shot and run for the board?

My conclusions are that people are busy, distracted, or just don’t fully understand the time commitment and therefore another task or group that they have to be beholden to may be too much on their plate.  I fully understand all of those and I, too, feel you but I am here to tell you that you can be on the UMAPP board and not interrupt your business, your family, or your life.  We meet 8-10 times per year as a group and although there are occasional meetings outside the monthly meeting, they are frankly not that frequent.  We have an Executive Director in Sue Selseth, with years of experience who fully supports the board and really is the backbone of the organization.  She allows the volunteers to do their work and she is there to run the day-to-day operations. 

 I am here to tell you and that we need you!! This organization will only continue to thrive as long as our membership stays involved and engaged.  We have an awesome group of people in the industry in this part of the country and I want to meet more of you.  I really want you to engage with each other and develop relationships with one another.  When it is all said and done, that is all we really have - our relationships.  This industry provides us huge opportunities to meet many unique and engaging people and UMAPP wants to help facilitate that in your career.  

I will now get off my “soapbox,” but I am very passionate about not only this industry but also UMAPP.  It is something I have been involved with for over 10 years and I truly believe that there are so many things that can be gained by getting involved.  Please reach out to me or any of our board members if you have any questions about events, board service, etc.  We would love to see you in October at the Technology/Brewery event and to consider getting more involved in 2018 and beyond!!

Have a great fall and I will talk to you all later in the year!!


Carter Sharp
UMAPP President 2017










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Holiday Showcase


It was such a fun day!  

There were many friendships being renewed and new relationships beginning.  The excitement was in the air. Everyone was looking forward to doing business and reaching out to old and new contacts.  

 The Holiday Showcase & End Buyer Expo just completed its 4th year.  This show started out as a gamble.  Would it be accepted by the general membership?  The Board of Directors had been conflicted and on the fence for years about starting this type of show.  Various opinions were flowing from the membership . . . yes, we need this type of show to no, I won't attend if you host one.   

Committee chairs Todd Pottebaum, MAS+, Melinda Marr, and Scott Hareid took their business expertise and industry wisdom and started talking to people, doing research, and laying out a plan and a proposal for a new show called the Holiday Showcase & End Buyer Expo.  This show was to be held at the beginning of the 4th quarter; it didn't necessarily have to be all about the Holidays, but it would be an ideal time to start the thinking process for that 4th quarter and Holiday rush.   

What we've found is that distributors and suppliers alike who had been opposed to this show, were suddenly attending and telling us that they LOVED the event.  Both sides tell us they generated new business, made new contacts, and left knowing they would definately return for the next year's show.    

"As a distributor, I didn't think I would attend this show.  I didn't want to bring clients, and feel I go to enough shows.  This year, I made an exception.  Not only did I attend, but I brought FIVE clients!  I couldn't be more excited.  All of my clients showed up, and they all had a wonderful time.  I've processed more orders from this show than any other.  As a UMAPP member, i NEED this type of show.  Thank you for putting it together!"  

"This is a great show.  My clients love it and have it already scheduled on their calendars for next year."  

"We had a great spot and a very busy show – will definitely be there next year!"  R.J. Filut & Associates (multiline rep company). 

"Had I not attended the last Past President’s Luncheon, I’d not have heard so much great information about the UMAPP holiday end-user showcase….which was a fabulous show. Kudos to you and all of the UMAPP board and volunteers for putting on two fabulous events. Bag Makers will be back next year for certain!"    Sue Kennedy, Regional Business Development Manager, BAG MAKERS, Inc.


Seth Barnett, Diversity Manager at PPAI, spoke on the subject of "Managing the Millennial Market."    In attendance were exhibitors, distributors, and end buyers.   Many thanks to Seth for presenting this valuable and informative program to those at the show!  


Next Year's Date:  Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Jimmy's Conference Center, Vadnais Heights, MN

  • Why an August show, you ask, and not September?  When looking at the trade show calendar for September, it is packed across the country.  There are many regional shows, plus local shows, and we want to make sure our members have a chance to exhibit at those shows, and attend them.   So, we will stay with August.  Plan now to avoid being on vacation and if you're a distributor bringing clients, let them know to post this on their calendar.  






View more pictures at UMAPP's Facebook Page.



Notebook Sponsor  Show Bag Sponsor  Pen Sponsor 


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Professional Development - Upcoming Event


Technology Seminar and Craft Brewery Social

October 4, 2017 

PAIKKA ("PICA") Event Center and Lake Monster Brewery   

St. Paul (Highway 94 and the Cretin Exit)  


Recent polling of UMAPP members revealed that the greatest business challenges we face are:
  1. Finding New Customers - 62%
  2. Technology use and understanding - 49.5%
  3. Keeping Existing Accounts - 32%


Find answers to these challenges by joining us for the technology seminar, and then relax and enjoy some craft beer close by at the Lake Monster Brewery.  


For the seminar, Terri Sparkman from SAGE will walk us through these key points of using these "hands-on" technology tools to grow your business.

  • Find New Customers with e-mail campaigns.
  • Keep Current customers with CRM tools.
  • Create an attractive and functional web site.
  • Drive clients to your site from social media.
  • Build your business with online stores.







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Fire & Ice Show


UMAPP's 2018 home for the Fire & Ice Show!  Registration for exhibitors will open soon.


U.S. Bank Stadium has already been selected as the location for the 2018 Superbowl, and the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball tournament Final Four. There are also efforts underway to host the College Football Playoff championship game.

Fun Facts About U.S. Bank Stadium

  • More than 10,000 truckloads of cement (100,000 cubic yards of concrete) have been delivered to the work site. That’s enough to fill over 30 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

  • U.S. Bank Stadium seats 65,000; expandable to 73,000 for a Super Bowl.

  • There are up to 125 suites and 7,500 club seats, including suites and clubs at the field level.

  • It has seven levels, including two general admission concourses with 360-degree circulation and various views into the bowl.

  • It was built with the 3rd Largest Crane in the world, which required 70 truckloads of equipment to assemble.

  • The stadium has the highest quality HD video boards in the NFL.


UMAPP's show will be on the concourse level, with booths on both sides and an center aisle for a walkway.  At the end of the row, there will be a deli to purchase food and seating.  Picture walking into the doors of the stadium, and seeing the field and the glass wall directly in front of you.  It's breathtaking!   Be sure and make plans to attend this show.  



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Calendar of Events


Technology Session & Craft Beer Social 
October 4, 2017 
PAIKKA ("Pica") Event Center and Lake Monster Brewery, St. Paul, MN 

2 CAS 




The UMAPP Room Show 
Monday, February 19, 2018 
Hilton Airport Mall of America  

The winners of the distributor vote for exhibitors will be announced next week!  




The UMAPP Fire & Ice Show 
Wednesday, May 9, 2018 
US Bank Stadium  

Exhibitor registration will open soon.   



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Welcome New Members



Housewares International (Supplier)

Gerald Erickson 

1706 Peterson Avenue

Eau Clairre, WI  54703



RiverStar, Inc. (Business Services) 

Aaron Breitenfeldt 

1705 Wilkie Drive

Winona, MN  55987 




Stromberg Brand Umbrellas (Supplier)

Dan Pigott

12 Ford Products Road 

Valley Cottage, NY  10989


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Guest Column


Getting the word out on the "Get in Touch" Campaign to Cap Anniversary

By David Hawes, MAS+, Geiger 


During the Minnesota State Fair, Carter Sharp (UMAPP's President) and I presented legendary WCCO Radio personality, John Hines, with a cap commenorating his 45th consecutive year as a broadcaster at the Minnesota State Fair.  John's remarkable enthusiasm for his audience continues to make him a favorite with his loyal listeners.  
A special thanks to Craig Gengler and his colleagues at HIT Promotional Products for providing John's cap and giving us a chance to Get in Touch.  



Do you have a story to share?  EMAIL the UMAPP office.

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Did you know?


. . .   companies are increasing contributions to their employee's 401(k) plans?  The average company contribution to 401(k)s rose to an estimated 4.7% of worker salaries in 2016, up from 3.9% during the previous year.  Companies in certain industries are doing this to retain the best employees and motivate staff.  The Wall Street Journal.  

 . . .   that avocados are good for your eyes?  The fruit contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin that filter harmful blue UV rays from the sun and help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts.  Also, the high levels of monounsaturated fats found in avocados may reduce risk for macular degeneration.  Marvin M. Lipman, MD, chief medical adviser for Consumer Reports.

 . . .   nerve stimulation may help RA patients?  Electronic stimulation of the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the gut, improved joint swelling and other symptoms for some people with the painful autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA), even in those for whom drugs had not worked well.  Study of 17 people with RA by researchers at Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset, New York, published in Proceedings of the Natoinal Academy of Sciences.  

 . . .  world table sales are declining?    Tablet sales have decreased 3.4% year over year, and the overall market has experienced 11 consecutive quarters of decreasing sales.  But some manufacturers are growing sales.  Amazon showed a 52% increase and Huawei a 47% increase.  International Data Corporation,  

 "One thing I know, The World's been good to me, a better place awaits you, you see."  Glen Campbell, from "A Better Place" 1936-2017.  

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Advertising with UMAPP


One of the benefits of being a UMAPP supplier member is the opportunity to advertise.   

Have you considered: 

1.  Advertising in this newsletter?  For just $75 per issue, this newsletter reaches up to 1,600 distributor sales staff via email, and it is always posted on our website.   Your company's home page is accessed by clicking the ad.  

2.  Advertising on the home page?  For only $25 per month, your ad on our home page could be seen by over 1,000 people per month.  Ads have a link that goes directly to your company's home page.  

3.  Sponsoring the monthly E-News?  An easy way to reach close to 1,600 distributor sales reps, this is an inexpensive option that also links back to your company's home page.   

For more information and to register, read more here.

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 148:

"The reason business writing is horrible is that people are afraid—afraid to say what they mean,
because they might be criticized for it."

Seth Godin

Why You Shoud Care About Your Writing Skills 

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

I have a skill that's given me a leg up in business over the years. It's a skill that I began to develop in
high school. I used this skill in college to earn some extra cash. And in my career, it's a skill that's
allowed me to differentiate myself among the pack. It's the simple skill of business writing.

Being able to effectively deliver your message using clear writing is one of the most important skills that
you can develop in business. It's also a skill that very few people try to master. They will rely on others to write their  presentations, reports and even business letters or emails.   Promotional Consultant Today shares insights from digital marketer and PR consultant Gloria Kopp, who dives into reasons why business writing is important and key elements to improve your business writing, including some key resources to help you. 


Why is business writing so important?


Written communication in the workplace. A great deal of the workplace communication takes
place via email, instant messenger and text messages much more than spoken interactions. In
addition, business presentations, websites, leaflets and others all require high-quality, clear and
effective writing. To help you with your business emails, try this online tool:Email excellence.
Professionalism and promotions. Professionals who are able to write in a clear, concise and
effective way tend to have success in the workplace. The higher you move up in an organization, the
more likely it is that you will be responsible for writing formal documents, proposals, employee
evaluations and other important reports. If you haven't demonstrated a proven ability to write
effectively, you might find yourself being overlooked for promotions.

Communication accuracy. Communication problems and misunderstandings can occur as a result
of bad writing. Those who are not able to write clearly often send the wrong message, simply because
grammar and syntax problems can change the meaning of what they are trying to say. Choosing the
right words and using proper grammar can greatly reduce the possibility for misunderstandings. You
can take advantage of tools such asWhite Smoke and Verbix to check spelling errors, grammar and
style, and to edit and improve the content of your writing.

While it might sound easy, we all know that not everyone is a skilled writer. However, we all have
the capacity to improve this skill. 

Source: Gloria Kopp is a digital marketer and a PR consultant. She works as a content manager at
Boomessays service. In addition, she is a regular contributor to such websites as Engadget,
Huffington Post and more. Read some of her posts at Studydemic.

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson



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Industry News


ETS Express, is pleased to announce the addition of Courtney Graham as a Regional Sales Manager. In her new role, Courtney is responsible for the Northwest Territory which includes; Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Courtney has a Business Administration degree in Apparel, Merchandising, and Design. She has been working on the distributor side of the promotional industry for the past 16 years. In her most recent role serving as Sales Director, she was responsible for developing strong client relationships and implementing strategic sales and marketing initiatives for the company. As a Washington native, she has a strong love, passion and understanding of everything the Northwest has to offer. “Courtney has a proven track record in delivering the highest standard of customer service to her clients while delivering out of the box solutions. She brings a fresh perspective that I know will not only serve as an asset for ETS Express, but will also be a valuable resource for our customer’s teams and business!” – Shlomo Cohen, National Sales Manager.

Hub Pen Company has hired Parich Basnet as Sales System Support Analyst.  Parich will be working with the IT department and Sales department to expand upon the current NetSuite operating system functions as they relate to Sales and Finance.  “I’m glad to be joining Hub in this time of growth,” Parich said.  “There are so many opportunities with this great team.”

Hub Pen Company and Beacon Promotions are proudto announce that Victoria Freeman has been promoted to the position of IT Support Analyst. In this role, Victoria will be providing initial support to system users with hardware, software, email and the company’s business applications.  She will also be responsible for updating the company’s website with new products, press releases and distributor sales tools, such as flyers and images.

Beacon Promotions, Inc. has hired Scott Eyler as a Customer Care Representative.  Scott will be handling accounts in Arkansas, Alabama, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.  Scott came from the Albert Lea, Minnesota area where he held positions of data analyst, technical writer and a loan processor.  He was hired at Beacon in June and Scott has gone thru extensive training.  Scott says, “I am very impressed with Beacon’s well-tuned workflow system.”  He also adds, “Every day I am wowed by and appreciative of the strong feeling of community here.  It’s great to know that everyone here strives to satisfy our customers by giving that extra effort.” 

Goldstar is excited to announce the expansion of their outside sales team with the hiring of Parker Melvin as Midwest Region Sales Manager based in Chicago, IL.   Following 7 years of experience managing Sales for 3 Key Industry Distributors, Parker has jumped to the supplier side will take on the states of IL, WI, MN, IN, OH, MI, MO, KS, ND, SD, NE, IA, KY & WV for Goldstar.  Parker comments, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to provide the kind of service to distributors that I valued so highly as a distributor myself. A great partner in a factory rep is invaluable to distributors in this increasingly competitive business.” 

 The Pro Towels family was able to expand their production due to the remarkable growth of the company.  Brian Porter, the Vice President of Sales expresses, “This is a move that we’ve been working towards for years, and to see us finally have the ability to expand our facility, better serve our clients, and room to grow, as we have, is a great place to be. As with all moves, this also had its share of bumps, but with our strong distributor partners, and our amazing internal operations team, we are exactly where we want to be!”   If you’re in the Las Vegas area, feel free to contact us for a facility tour located at 4588 E Craig Road, Suite 200, Las Vegas, NV 89115. 

Hub Pen Company and Beacon Promotions have hired Michael Sacco as Manufacturing and Quality Engineer.  Sacco worked as Product Engineer for Tyco fire protection products for 7 plus years.  “When I was with Tyco I got to know not only the quality side of things, but design, customer service, finances,” says Sacco.  “Tyco was a large company, so it’s been a much more focused position with a smaller company like Hub Pen.  Everyone here has one goal: to get stuff done.  It’s nice to see even the CEO (Joe Fleming) on the production floor.”




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Guest Column III

Top-Shelf Tip No. 171:

"The meeting of preparation with opportunity generates the offspring we call luck."
Anthony Robbins


Easing the Business of Small Talk 

Reprinted with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.


Like many of you, I often attend networking sessions and business dinners. Now, I've always considered myself to be a fairly social person, but the one thing that makes me uncomfortable is small talk with a stranger or new acquaintance. It just doesn't come naturally to me. Rather than listening and engaging in what the other person is saying, I'm too busy trying to think of the next thing to say.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these simple tips for easy small talk from Shana Lebowitz, business strategy reporter for Business Insider. Whether you are networking or socializing, try them out on your colleagues and customers.


1. Demonstrate interest in your conversation partner. The best way to keep a conversation rolling is to show you care about what the other person has to say. If you don't care about what the other person is saying, it becomes obvious, and the conversation will come to a screeching halt. To show your interest, allow the other person to share information about himself or herself, even if it means they talk more than you do.

2. Ask open-ended questions. Instead of asking yes/no questions that lead to a dead end, encourage your conversation partner to share more detail about his or her life. This can lead to more conversation topics. For example, instead of asking a fellow party guest, "Are you here with your family?" you might ask, "How did you meet the host?"

3. Allow your conversation partner to teach you. If you aren't familiar with a topic that the other person brings up, then let them know. Chances are they will take the opportunity to teach you. For example, at a recent dinner, my customer began to talk about his interest in bourbon. When I explained that I didn't know about bourbons, he began to explain some of the things he's learned through his hobby. It goes back to that central idea of letting other people do most of the talking. Asking the other person to explain means they'll be talking for at least another few minutes.

4. Read the news. Take time to peruse the news before your next networking event or business dinner. That way, if a conversation should come to an abrupt halt, you can fill the silence with, "Hey, did you hear about …"

5. Practice the FORM technique to keep the conversation flowing:


•  F-amily: Do you have kids? Where is your family from? How long have you lived around here?
•  O-ccupation: What do you do for a living? What is that like?
•  R-ecreation: What do you do for fun? How long have you been involved in your hobby?
•  M-oney: What happened with the price of gas? Did you see that last school bond issue?


6.  Be honest. There's nothing wrong with admitting to your conversation partner that you hate small talk, and suggest a "big" topic to talk about. You might find that the other person is both surprised and relieved to hear your revelation. Have a few key topics on hand to throw out as potential conversation starters, such as "Are you happy with your current job role?" "What's omething on your bucket list that you want to try or accomplish in the next five years?

Try these simple tips and allow the conversation to flow.

Source: Shana Lebowitz is a strategy reporter forBusiness Insider. Before joining Business Insider in April 2015, she covered mental health for Greatist and personal finance for LearnVest. Shana studied English and psychology at Brandeis University and received her master's degree in English literature from Columbia University.


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This is a newsletter provided by the Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals.  UMAPP is a professional trade association for companies in the promotional products industry.  UMAPP covers the states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Western Wisconsin.  Membership is by company, but all staff are included under the umbrella of the company membership.  

For more information, contact the UMAPP office at:  

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