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March/April 2019 Print

President's Column

Room Show Wrap up!

Welcome to March already everyone! I’m hoping this finds you all thinking about spring and a warmer April than the last blizzard we just endured the end of February.  I don’t know about you, but winter can be done now, in my opinion, but onto some updates!

UMAPP just wrapped up the annual Room Show at its NEW location, the Minneapolis Airport Marriott on Feb. 25 with a great buzz around new suppliers and what’s coming in 2019!  We had 117 pre registrations and 95 attendees enjoyed a day of fast-paced, jam-packed meetings from 11 excellent industry suppliers!

Also at this gathering, we held our annual meeting for membership and recognized four dedicated and talented members for their efforts within their own organizations and UMAPP. 

Congratulations go to: 

Sabrina Franz, SnugzUSA (Volunteer of the Year)

Michelle Gunderson, Fields (Superstar Award)

Virginia Lemmer, Maple Ridge Farms (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Past president Melinda Marr, iClick (Hall of Fame)

A great day and event yet again for our awesome organization!  Mark your 2020 calendars for March 9 as we’ll return to the same venue for this event!

Looking ahead to the upcoming events on our calendar, please be sure to pencil us in and attend our UMAPP CONNECTS event coming up Thursday, April 4, at Bad Weather Brewing Company in St. Paul for some networking and craft beer.  And the week after, we kickoff our new outreach initiative with our very first Brew & View mini tradeshow in Fargo, North Dakota on April 9!

The Fire & Ice Booth Show is fast approaching on May 22 and it’s never too early to start planning to attend or register to display if you haven’t yet done so yet.   Until next time, here’s to a warm Spring, a MN Wild playoff push, and Twins Opening Day just around the corner!

“Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.”  – Bobby Unser

Your President,

Chris Thies


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Room Show

Congratulations to the 2019 UMAPP Award Winners!  

The Lifetime Achievement, Hall of Fame, Volunteer of the Year, and SuperStar Awards were presented at the Room Show Luncheon, which also serves as UMAPP's annual meeting of members. 


It is support of our members that makes this Association stable and successful. Advance Corporation has been generous for a number of years in donating all of our awards, making each one custom and from their own plant in Cottage Grove, Minnesota. Many thanks, also, to Rena Ashfeld, for her expertise and creativity in developing the design of these awards and overseeing their production.

On February 25, 2019, UMAPP held its annual Room Show at the Minneapolis Airport Marriott in Bloomington.  Eleven exhibitors - voted into this show by our own distributor membership - provided 25-minute presentations to rotating groups of distributors.  Despite a blinding snowstorm the previous day, and some highways closed, members arrived with a smile ready to soak up the great information and education that these top-notch exhibitors were prepared to give.  

Breakfast, snacks, sit-down lunch, awards presentation, reception and door prize party, plus 11 presentations - all in one day!   This is a show not to miss, so plan to attend next March 9 at the same location.  We think you will be glad you did. 

Check out these great prizes that our members won during the raffle:  

Kent Landman, Kaeser & Blair - Golf balls donated by Ball Pro. 

Michelle Kvasnik, Creative Resource - Smart Camera and Frosted Glass, donated by Aakron Rule. 

Chris Vathing, Quantum Graphics - Tumblers donated by CPS/Keystone and pens by Hub Pen.  

Elroy Vesta, EJ Enterprises - Golf balls donated by Ball Pro. 

Mark Bernstein, Safeguard - Bulova Watch donated by Hub/Beacon. 

Jay Garey, Vernon - Fire TV stick. 

Lezlie Greene, The Promotion Group - Caribou Gift Card and $75 self promos donated by CPS/Keystone. 

Patrick Watercott, Vernon - Work Jacket donated by Vantage. 

Brad Ness, S&S Promotional - Pinot Noir Wineglasses. 

Ron White, Embroidme - Maple Grove - Hammock donated by Sweda. 

Andi Bobick, Image Builders - Echo Dot. 

Carter Sharp, Gator Garb - Echo Dot. 

Kathy Olberg, Quantim Graphics - Fire TV Stick. 

Tim Craig, Boundless Network - Ninja blender. 

Kim Hendrickson, KH Promotions - 39" TV. 

Many thanks to our fabulous exhibitors who put a lot of time and planning into their presentations to make sure our attendees left with plenty of valuable information: 

Ball Pro/Diversified Quality Kitchenware
BIC Graphic
CPS / Keystone
ETS Express
Evans Manufacturing
HUB Promotional Group

And our sponsors:  


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Calendar of Events


Wild Wednesday Webinar - March 27 - 11:30 am 

“Brand YOU:  How To Out Amazon Your Competition” 

Presented by:  Bill Petrie, President, PromoCorner 

Free and only to UMAPP members


UMAPP CONNECTS Event - April 4
Bad Weather Brewing Company 
4 PM 

A casual networking opportunity for industry professionals, hosted by UMAPP.

New Event!  Brew & View Mini Shows - April 9| October 1

Come for the show . . . stay for a beer!  

April 9      |  Fargo, North Dakota   

October 1 | Des Moines, Iowa 

Note:  Exhibitors for the 2019 shows have been selected.  


The Fire & Ice Show - May 22, 2019 

The Expo Center at Canterbury Park, Shakopee, Minnesota
Free parking  | Quick access to show floor  | No stairs or security checks | Hundreds of exhibitor lines 
  • Tailgate Party

  • Professional Development Seminar


The Idea Showcase & Client Expo - August 15, 2019

New Name!  (Formerly the Holiday Showcase)

Jimmy's Conference Center, Vadnais Heights, Minnesota
Registration for exhibitors and distributors will open in late May 2019 



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Coupon Book

What is this about a COUPON BOOK? 

"I [recently] joined UMAPP and received a coupon book that I gave to the people who issue the PO's in our company, and within a week, they informed me we used a coupon that gave us $800 off a single order.  Definately worth the investment, and through UMAPP, I have made many friends in the industry."    H.A. Gross, Ad Specialties Guru, Plaza Printers, Urbandale, Iowa 

How do you access this incredible book of savings? A full year of savings from industry suppliers.  Available ONLY to staff of UMAPP member companies!     

  • From the UMAPP website , click "Login" and sign in with your email address and the password you created when setting up your account.   Or click the graphic to the right to go directly to the member area to sign in.  

CLICK HERE for a list of the participating suppliers.



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Collegiate Scholarship

UMAPP Partners with PPEF for Collegiate Scholarships

Deadline is today for applications - March 15!

New for 2019!  UMAPP is offering a $1,000 collegiate scholarship through a competitive application process to all staff of UMAPP member companies and their children.  

This program replaces the previous application process through Scholarship America.  

Why PPEF?  The Promotional Products Education Foundation is an industry-based educational, charitable, and nonprofit organization.  PPEF awards college scholarships to students who have a parent working in the promotional products industry or who are working for a company in the industry.

Since 1989, PPEF has awarded $1,942,000 in college scholarships to 1,113 students.

UMAPP is always thinking of ways to maximize member benefits and to manage the best financial decisions.  Moving to PPEF to offer collegiate scholarships to our members will provide excellent opportunities for students, yet also allow UMAPP to direct funds into other areas that are needed by our members.  

The application for the 2019-2020 academic year is available HERE.  The deadline for submission is March 15. 

  • The name to note on the applications is The UMAPP Collegiate Scholarship.




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Guest Column

Top-Shelf Tip No. 44:

"We are constantly invited to be who we are."

Henry David Thoreau

How To Sell And Be Yourself Without Cold Call Scripts

Used with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

Many salespeople turn to cold call scripts when contacting prospects. Using a script helps them sound more knowledgeable, polished and prepared, and helps reduce the stress of making a cold call. 

Whether you regularly use cold call scripts, or you feel that scripts are impersonal and unnatural, there are some ways to personalize cold call scripts so you sound like your natural, authentic self. 

Ari Galper, a global authority on trust-based selling, encourages salespeople to contemplate how they feel when they use a script, how prospects feel when they know a script is involved, and how many sales are lost because salespeople are using a script. 

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Galper's tips to replace your linear selling script and be  yourself again.

Admit that scripts make you sound scripted.

When you begin your sales script, have you ever noticed the subtle change from your natural voice to your unnatural scripted voice?  Galper says even if you try to work on making yourself sound natural, it presents a conflict. Rather than working on being natural, let go of your script as a crutch. You can learn other ways to make calls without relying on a linear, step-by-step script.

Start a conversation, not a one-way pitch. If you wonder about what you'll say without referring to a script, it's a sign you're basing your call on what you have to offer and not on what's important to the prospect. Galper says pitching your solution as soon as you begin a call is one of the biggest problems of linear sales scripts. You trigger sales pressure and cause prospects to react defensively.

Instead, jot down a couple core issues and problems you can solve. Take that problem and put it into words your prospect can understand. This shows that your mental focus is on helping your prospect solve a problem.

Create openings rather than force a yes. A sales script is designed to move calls in the direction you want them to go. The problem is that they give you only one path to follow. Galper advises salespeople to start a conversation that prompts prospects to ask for more information. This allows salespeople to explain themselves in a natural, two-way dialogue.

Record yourself reading your script. Have you ever listened to yourself calling a prospect and reading your script? Most salespeople haven't, which is why they think they sound natural. When you record yourself and take time to listen, you'll notice distinct differences.

Focus on opening the conversation rather than trying to control it. If you worry about giving up your sales script, try the alternative and see how it feels. Aim to target their issue and create a conversation around it. When you eliminate the sales pressure, prospects are more likely to share their truth with you.

Remember that in relationships, people want to get to know and communicate with others. When you let go of a linear script, you can engage with prospects as though they are old friends.

Source: Ari Galper is a global authority on trust-based selling and the creator of Unlock The Game®, a revolutionary sales approach that overturns the traditional notion of selling.


Compiled by Audrey Sellers

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Did you know?


. . .  the number of millionaires rose 41% as of the third quarter of 2018 from the same quarter of 2017 among people with accounts at Fidelity Investments?  Fidelity is one of the largest administrators of workplace-retirement accounts, with 15 million 401(k) accounts.  Fidelity Investments, Boston.  

. . . animals can gauge time?  Newly-discovered neurons in animal brains encode time.  Researchers had mice run through a virtual-reality maze to a door, where they had to wait six seconds before the door opened.  Later, researchers made the door invisible, but the mice still waited for six seconds at the same spot.  Study by researchers at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, published in Nature Neuroscience.  

. . .  a vaccine for celiac disease may someday make it possible for people with one form of the disease to eat gluten-containing foods?  The vaccine, Nexvax2, is designed to prevent the inflammation that happens when people with celiac disease consume gluten.  It is intended for the 90% of celiac-disease patients who have the HLA-DQ2 genetic form of the disease.  The vaccine is now in clinical trials.  

. .  Saturn's rings are disappearing?   They are being pulled into the planet's gravity as a dusty rain of ice particles.  At the current rate of deterioration, the rings will be gone in 100 million years.  

“The courage to press on- especially when the market storms howl around us - is the quintessential attribute of the successful investor.  John C. Bogle, founder of The Vanguard Group 1929-2019.    

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Guest Column II

Top-Shelf Tip No. 33:

"We must meet the challenge rather than wish it were not before us."

William J. Brennan, Jr.

How Leaders Can Fix Workplace Frustrations

Used with permission from Promotional Consultant Today.

Frustrations on the job are going to happen. Even the most even-tempered people sometimes feel overwhelmed, angry, resentful or disappointed. As a leader, it's important to not only handle your own frustrations in an emotionally intelligent manner, but also help your team work through any issues that arise. Workplace frustration rarely goes away on its own. When you see your employees exhibit signs of frustration, there are some steps you can take to prevent the situation from worsening.

Ben Brearley, a coach and former management consultant, says leaders can look out for a few common sources of frustration in the workplace, such as communication  problems, lack of rewards and recognition and limited career progression. We're sharing Brearley's tips for fixing workplace frustrations in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Address the frustration directly. Don't avoid having a conversation with a team member who's feeling frustrated, and don't resort to playing the guessing game. Instead, Brearley encourages leaders to approach the conversation with a curious and constructive outlook. Ask questions to understand the source of the frustration and let the team member vent to you. Try to empathize with the individual.

Determine the cause and work toward a solution. Whether you're meeting with an individual employee or your whole team, it's important to start by finding the root cause of the issue. Work with your team to reveal the underlying problem so you'll better understand how to find the appropriate solution.

Act swiftly to address the frustration. Don't wait and hope the issue goes away by itself. If you wait too long, you might even send a key team member packing and out the door. Brearley says it's best to meet with the frustrated employee immediately. Show your team you're aware of the issue and committed to doing something about it.

Always be honest with your team. As a leader, you don't want to give your employees a false promise of change. The source of frustration might be out of your direct control to solve. By not being

forthcoming, you might succeed at keeping people on your team longer, but you'll end up driving

frustration levels even higher than before. Be open with your team if a solution is going to take some time. And if you can't tackle the problem because it's outside your control, be honest about that, as well.

Frustration in the workplace isn't hard to spot when you take the time to notice it. Your employees might experience emotional outbursts, or they simply might stop trying. Frustrated team members also become less productive, which can damage your individual team and your organization as a whole. If you notice employees having more closed-door meetings than usual, take note. They might be venting their frustration to colleagues, which only further intensifies the issue. When workplace frustrations happen, don't ignore them. Take the right approach with your team by following the simple tips above.

Source: Ben Brearley is a leader, MBA, coach and former management consultant passionate about developing thoughtful, effective leaders.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

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Industry News


Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) celebrated the 61st Anniversary of its Pyramid Award Competition awarding 65 Gold, 79 Silver, 11 Supplier Star and 8 Supplier Award of Merit winners at the PPAI Pyramid Award Celebration held January 15, 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in conjunction with The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, January 13-17.  

Since 1958, the PPAI Pyramid Awards have recognized and honored promotional products businesses and helped shine the spotlight on the collaborative business model unique to the industry. Beacon Promotions was presented a Silver Pyramid Award in Marketing for the 2019 Pyramid Award Competition for their name badge kit.

Distributor Brown & Bigelow (PPAI 102272), headquartered in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has acquired Washington, D.C.-based distributor Specialties, Inc. (PPAI 108701).  "It has been a wonderful run for me in this industry, but it was time for me to sell my business and to partner with a national distributor to support our next stage of growth," says Joel Kaplan, who founded Specialties, Inc. in 1984. "We chose Brown & Bigelow because their unique business model allows us to maintain our identity and to support our sales executives and customers locally."

CPS/Keystone (Custom Plastic Specialties, LLC) is a winner of the 2019 PPAI Gold Pyramid Award-Supplier Star.  The award was announced and presented at the PPAI Pyramid Award Celebration held January 15, 2019 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in conjunction with The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas.

IMAGEN Brands has kicked off the new year strong winning 2 prestigious awards announced at this year’s trade shows. Vitronic won the Counselor Distributor Choice Award at the ASI Show in Orlando for Toys, Games and Stuffed Animals for the 5th consecutive time. Crown then won the Gold Pyramid Award for Supplier Star at PPAI Expo. This is the 13th time Crown has won Gold for Supplier Star.

HUB Promotional Group was awarded the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association (PAPPA) Supplier of the Year Award at the PAPPA Winter Showcase held February 5, 2019 at the Springfield Country Club, Springfield Pennsylvania.  Suppliers are nominated by PAPPA distributor members who then vote for their favorite.  HUB Pen sales executive Anthony Abatzis, Beacon Promotions sales representative Mark Whitner and multi-line reps Gerard Schifano and Scott Schaefer were in attendance to accept the award. 

IMAGEN Brands is excited to announce and welcome our newest team member, Derek Rose as Category Manager – Plush, Business, Calendars, and Andrew Philips Leather. Derek joins the team with over 3 years of experience in the promotional products industry including a passion and background in marketing.

The Specialty Graphic Imaging Association (SGIA) out of Fairfax, Virginia, has recognized Beacon and other member companies for their safety efforts throughout 2018.  Companies receiving the award completed a number of self-inspection and verification processes that helped improve safety conditions in their workplaces, including attending safety webinars, creating safety committees, conducting bi-monthly safety checks and more.  The safety program consists of a variety of components to achieve a safer workplace.  It is based on a points system where participants must complete certain action items to earn points.  Beacon placed third out of 60 participating companies.

Tekweld’s Vice-President of Sales and Marketing, Ray Rodriguez,
has announced the promotion of Dan Jenne to Director of National Accounts. The
company’s newly created position has the goal of developing strong working
relationships with larger promotional products distributors with a national
presence. Jenne will report directly to Rodriguez. The promotion was effective
January 1, 2019.

HUB Promotional Group’s HUB Pen company is pleased to announce the promotion of Joe Tessier from junior buyer to quality control specialist.  Joe came to work at HUB Pen five years ago, working nights in the QC department, while attending Charlton College of Business for Supply Chain Management


During Expo 2019 in Las Vegas, David Hawes, MAS+ (Geiger) - far right - and Dan Livengood, CAS (2020 Brand Solutions) - far left - made their steps count!  They challenged each other to help raise money on behalf of UMAPP for the Promotional Products Disaster Relief Fund.  The Dollars 4 Disasters was a first time event organized by Jeff Solomon, MAS, FreePromoTips and Dana Zezzo, VP, American Solutions for Business.  Dana Geiger, Regional Relations Manager, PPAI provided support.  Livengood and Hawes raised $500 for the cause with their step challenge.  A special thanks to Paul Kiewiet, MAS, for donating a speaking engagement to any regional association raising $500.   

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Advertising with UMAPP

These suppliers signed up to sponsor UMAPP's website.  Space for 2019 is sold out, but there is still plenty of space to post an ad in our digital newsletter.  CLICK HERE.  Just $100 per issue.  Specs:  210 wide x 294 long (max) in JPEG format and the ad will link back to your company's home page.  


March 2019  April 2019 

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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:  [email protected]  

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