Virginia Promotional Products Association

Industry News

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  • 04 Nov 2015 3:38 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    GRAND ISLAND, NY November 04, 2015 – Jim Bull, Vice President of Sales for Starline USA is pleased to announce the expanded partnership with KC and Michael Fields of KC Fields & Associates as the new reps for the Northeast - Mid-Atlantic. 

    KC Fields and Michael Fields make up the team of KC Fields & Associates. They will represent Starline in PA, DC, VA, WV, MD and Southern NJ.

    KC brings 25+ years’ experience in the promotional products industry. He developed and owned one of the first multi-line rep groups in the industry. KC is based in Columbus OH and spends his spare time working with the Ohio State Alumni organization. He frequently attends OSU football and basketball games and rarely misses a home game!  KC can be reached at 614-595-0662               

    Michael joined the team in 2006 after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Michael has been recognized as a PPB Rising Star in 2010 and was on the ASI Hot List in 2011. Michael can be reached at 614-582-7233 or

    Please feel free to contact KC, Michael or Anthony, your Northeast inside rep for assistance.

    Anthony Destino

    Inside Sales Representative/Northeast

    (800) 831-2231 ext. 3338

    For more information please contact:

    Jim Bull

    VP Sales

    716.773.0100 ext.3313

  • 28 Jul 2015 1:53 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – JULY 28, 2015 - Effective August 2015, top 50 supplier Pro Towels (asi 79750 /ppai 112755) has acquired supplier Kanata Blanket Company (asi 63823/ ppai 217153/ pppc 980901).

    Pro Towels is the largest full-service beach, golf, fitness and rally towel supplier within the Promotional Products Industry. With corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA, Pro Towels has manufacturing and decorating facilities located in both South Carolina and California.

    Kevin Nord, President of Pro Towels, explains “the addition of Kanata Blanket Company enables Pro Towels to become an even more diverse line, complementing our existing products perfectly and offering us an even greater presence in the fourth-quarter gift giving season. We are now truly a company for all seasons.”

    Kanata Blanket Company has been a recognized leader in premium blankets, décor and lifestyle products in the Promotional Products Industry since 1993. Voted the recipient ofBEST BLANKET SUPPLIER in the Counselor Distributor Choice Awards since the inception of this category, Nord adds ”Kanata’s exceptional reputation within the Promotional Products Industry for innovative products and outstanding service was one of the major factors in our decision to purchase them, mirroring our commitment to exceed customer expectations.” Both the Pro Towels and Kanata brands will be maintained as well as their respective industry identifiers.

    Fraser Mackay, current President of Kanata Blanket Company, believes that the purchase by Pro Towels will enable each company to better serve their respective customer bases in the USA and Canada. “By combining our operational capabilities, product lines and geographic footprints, we will be able to provide excellence in every way to our distributor customers. This will be enhanced by east and west coast USA distribution for faster lead-times, and the Kanata facility in Canada offering the best-selling towels from Pro Towels to the Canadian market. This is an extremely exciting opportunity for Kanata and we are very proud to become part of the dynamic Pro Towels organization.”

    Fraser Mackay will continue to oversee Kanata Blanket Company in Canada as Executive Vice President, with no changes in operating direction planned as part of the sale. Brian Porter will expand his role as Vice President of Sales to cover both the USA and Canadian markets. Jessica McKinnon will remain as Canadian Sales Manager, based in Richmond, BC and assisted by Devon Manwaring. Sharon Griffith will assume the role of Vice President of Marketing for both the USA and Canada.


    For More Information, Contact: Sharon Griffith, V.P., Marketing Phone: 604.273.7002

  • 09 Jul 2015 4:47 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    It is easy to become overwhelmed by the mere mention of product safety.  PPAI made the bold decision to require any company wanting access to the PPAI marketplace to obtain the Product Safety Aware status indicating that they have a basic understanding of product responsibility obligations -  That's the good news.  The better news is that it's not just for suppliers anymore. 

    The Product Safety Awareness Program was designed to foster an industry - wide commitment and a culture where all companies, suppliers and distributors alike, are not only aware of product safety but are also engaged in the discussion. 

    PPAI and VAPPA are committed to bringing you the opportunity to gain this education. There are two opportunities available to you this fall to do just that. The PPAI Product Responsibility Summit in Bethesda, MD, is a two-day deep dive into the most compelling product responsibility issues facing out industry. The  VAPPA Product Safety Awareness Training Seminar is a four-hour abridged course that will help distributors distinguish themselves in the marketplace.  

    Two Options To Take Your Product Responsibility Knowledge To The Next Level...

    OPTION 1: PPAI Product Responsibility Summit  - September 28-30, 2015 Bethesda, MD

       Ideal for company principles or legal staff

       Two-day deep dive into the most compelling product responsibility issues facing out industry

       PSA training on day one 

       Tours of the CPSC lab and deep discussion of product responsibility challenges including social responsibility and the various state regulations and recalls

       $950 per attendee 

    OPTION 2: VAPPA's Product Safety Awareness Training - October 19, 2015 in Richmond, VA

       Ideal for all distributor principles and staff 

       4 hour course that will educate your team to the issues around safety and qualify you as Product Safety Early Adopter, a status you can promote in your marketing materials. 

       $25 per attendee

    Distributors who are "Product Safety Aware" provide their clients with peace of mind knowing that promotional products are not only effective but they are also safe.  Corporate social responsibility and compliance aren’t the future or a fad. Your clients expect compliance now.  Take advantage of one of these two opportunities this fall. 

  • 17 Apr 2015 9:11 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    VIRGINIA (April 16,2015) The Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) is pleased to announce that Amanda Delaney of SanMar will be joining the VAPPA Board of Directors effective immediately.  

    Delaney is the South Atlantic Territory Manager for SanMar, and is an active member, volunteer, and supporter of VAPPA. Amanda, a newlywed, resides in Raleigh, NC but travels to her native home, Washington State, to grab a Seahawks game at least twice a year.

    “ We are delighted to welcome Amanda to the VAPPA Board of Directors. She is a tremendous supporter of VAPPA and has a refreshing energy that is contagious. Her fresh perspective on the industry will add insight into the needs of a new generation of industry professionals. I have full confidence in saying that having Amanda on the Board help VAPPA grow the membership and help us stay relevant in an ever-evolving industry.”  - Harold Wood, VAPPA Board President.

    Delaney was elected by the Board to fill a vacancy completing a term through Dec 31, 2016. VAPPA holds an annual election to elect new Board members in October of each year.  To learn more about the VAPPA Board or the nomination and election process please click here.


    Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) is a non-profit trade association formed in 1986 to advance the image of promotional products and their use in Virginia.

    Through trade shows, social events and education, we work to foster the relationships of Suppliers and Distributors to continue to grow the business in these areas. We also work to educate and include end-users in this process by offering end-user tradeshows.


  • 17 Mar 2015 7:07 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    Towel Specialties hires industry veteran Kirk Ross

    (Baltimore, MD ) – Towel Specialties announced today the addition of 26 year industry veteran Kirk Ross as Vice President of National Accounts. Beginning on April 1, Mr. Ross will be responsible for sales growth with key partners as well as new business development from his home base in Minnesota.

    Most recently, Mr. Ross worked for the AIA Corporation for 5 years as their Business Sales Development Manager. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Ross represented Towel Specialties as a multi-line rep in Minnesota, prior to becoming Vice President of Sales for Aloe Up and then Starline.

    “We couldn’t be more excited to have Kirk back on our team,” said Towel Specialties’ Vice President of Sales, Shawn Kanak. “He brings a lot of great ideas, hard work, respect, enthusiasm and fun to the table.”



    1200 67th Street Baltimore Maryland 21237
    410-525-1900 Fax. 410-525-2222 ASI 91605

  • 05 Mar 2015 12:20 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    Announcing 40-Year Value Awards Supplier and VAPPA Member Opens New Northeast Shipping Hub

    One source for all corporate, academic and specialty sports team awards

    Buffalo, NY -- An experienced awards and trophy supplier, Milestone Recognition, announced this month a Buffalo, New York distribution hub for shipping its over 800 recognition products, from $2 medals to $700 massive award wall plaques.  Milestone, specializing in top-quality-for-less corporate and sports team awards, brings 40 years of awards craftsmanship and top service honors to the market, with its quick turnaround service, even on huge corporate award programs or athletic league-wide programs.

    FOR you, (VAPPA members), this means we are your local Awards Supplier!  Look out for special emails for member-only exclusives!

    Janice Hopkins, Head of Product Development, explains the company's philosophy, "Our goal this year was to continue our award-winning customer service model by working out a way to bring our massive inventory right into the northeast market quickly. This allows every one of our award and trophy products -- housed in a facility as large as an Ikea store-- to be available to our northeast award distributors.  It's now a reality. "

    When asked what made Milestone different, Hopkins reports three things, "First, we have all the mainstay corporate awards, but we also SPECIALIZE in team and academic awards.  We will have many different catalogs, each targeting a specific sport or academic market.  Second, we're FAST.  We've done whole tournaments with hundreds of trophies with 100% accuracy in just a few days.  And third, although we pride ourselves in superb quality, we're actually less expensive than most suppliers."  

    Plans are to officially debut the line at Expo East in Atlantic City on March 13th, along with personal sales visits from Jim Hutchinson's sales team throughout the northeast states.

    The Milestone Recognition team of awards specialists, can be reached at , or at 866-660-9341.

    For more information, contact Bob Levitt, at

  • 21 Jan 2015 12:48 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    From VAPPA Board President, Harold Wood

    As I sit down to write this, I feel a little overwhelmed.   While exhilarating, traveling last week to PPAI Expo has left me tired.  I think of everything I have to do: the show follow-up, unburying my inbox, family obligations…Oh, and my duties as President of a really great association.  And while, I am anxious about getting everything done, I know I will.

    The feeling of never having enough time takes over all of our lives at some point.  We give way to the avalanche of wants and needs of others and struggle to carve out time for the important things. 

    This year, I am committed to take time for myself and for the things I find important.  I am committing to living a healthier lifestyle, spending more time with my family, and giving back.

    I am calling this The Year of Engagement.

    Why engagement?   I want to spend more time truly engaged with those around me.  I vow to be present with those who surround me in life and business. I want to know how I can have a positive impact in their lives and remember that often a kind word can change the course of a person’s day. 

    As I set this goal personally, I believe it’s time for VAPPA to do the same thing.  2015 will also be VAPPA’s Year of Engagement. Our focus will be to better understand our members, their needs, and how we can better service them.  Sounds simple, right? 

    It can be, with your help. We need you to engage with us to be successful. We want your honest input and feedback.  And we need you to be present. Attending the VAPPA events and sharing thoughts and ideas about the industry will help us better serve you.

    So please plan to attend the VAPPA events but don’t stop there. Engage with us on social media, call, email and communicate with VAPPA leaders and your industry peers.

    Please plan on attending these upcoming VAPPA events:

     VAPPA Spring EXPO Feb17-18

    Annual Membership Appreciation Party and Pinnacle Awards Feb 17

    I can think of no better way to begin the Year of Engagement with us. I look forward to seeing you there.


    Harold Wood

    VAPPA Board President

  • 14 Jan 2015 2:17 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    PITTSBURGH, PA – January 14, 2015 – Trimark Powered by Leed’s, a division of Polyconcept North America, is proud to now offer apparel from Roots73, a leading lifestyle brand that makes comfortable, high-quality activewear. The addition of the Canadian company’s distinctive casual styles enhances what is already the industry’s premier collection of promotional wear, giving distributors yet another popular retail look to offer customers.

    Established in 1973, Roots73 draws inspiration from the people, geography and culture of its home country. It’s from this inspiration that Roots73 has established a signature aesthetic, creating hip, athletic, outdoorsy styles for people of all ages. The new pieces offered by Trimark Powered by Leed’s include sweatshirts, hoodies, jackets and polos that feel as good as they look.

    To learn more about the Roots73 brand and to see the new styles, go to

    # # #

    About Polyconcept North America
    Polyconcept North America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Polyconcept, the world’s leading promotional products supplier. With headquarters in New Kensington, Pa., PCNA operates Leed’s, Bullet, Trimark Powered by Leed’s and JournalBooks. As the corporate home for this diverse group of suppliers, PCNA serves as a single source for the widest selection of products, cutting-edge decoration and reliable service. Learn more at

    About Trimark Powered by Leed’s
    Trimark Powered by Leed’s creates stylish, high-quality apparel for women and men, all designed to display brand logos with our cutting-edge decoration. With headquarters in New Kensington, Pa., Trimark Powered by Leed’s combines premium fabrics, fashion-forward looks and innovative technical features to produce award-winning styles. In addition to receiving numerous industry honors, Trimark Powered by Leed’s was the largest licensee for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and is an official licensee for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. With a history dating back more than 40 years, Trimark Powered by Leed’s is the premier source for high-quality promotional apparel in North America.

    About Trimark Sportswear Group
    Trimark is a leading promotional apparel supplier, founded in 1975 in Markham, ON, Canada. Known for innovative high-quality designs, leading service and immediate availability, the company continues to grow and expand into new markets. In 2013, Trimark was recognized by Waterstone Human Capital as one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures in the Growth and Small Cap category. Trimark is home to five in-house brands, OnTour, Outer Boundary, Landmark, Nexus and Elevate Sport, as well as the exclusive Canadian licensee for ROOTS 73. Trimark’s products include polos, fleece, soft-shells, outerwear, woven shirts, jackets and headwear. In 2010 Trimark Sportswear was the activewear licensee for the Vancouver Winter Olympics. As part of its work with the Vancouver Olympic Committee, Trimark is recognized for setting high social compliance standards. Recently the company relocated to Richmond Hill after a significant investment into new facilities.

    About Leed’s
    Leed’s is the premier supplier of high-quality promotional products, with goods ranging from pens and drinkware to bags and mobile tech. With an in-house product development team and dozens of leading retail brands, Leed’s continually introduces products with the look, feel and performance customers want, while our award-winning service and cutting-edge decoration capabilities provide a seamless experience from start to finish. As a founding member of the Quality Certification Alliance (QCA), Leed’s promotes quality, safety and integrity among suppliers and has been the recipient of many honors. With global operations headquartered in New Kensington, Pa., Leed’s has been synonymous with excellence for almost 25 years.


    Kara DiBiase
    Marketing Coordinator, Trimark Powered by Leed’s
    Polyconcept North America
    400 Hunt Valley Road
    New Kensington, PA 15068
    PH: 888-476-5962, ext. 3227

  • 08 Jan 2015 2:52 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    VIRGINIA (Jan 1, 2015) The Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) is delighted to welcome

    Jeanne Walls (J Walls Ink!) and John Bennis (Sequel, Inc) to the Board of Directors.

    Jeanne Walls, President and Founder of J WALLS INK!, was born in Hampton, Virginia and has been a Richmond resident for more years than she can remember! She began her print and promotional career with 17 years at Richmond Office Supply.

    Jeanne is involved in the community through Rotary Club of Richmond, of which she is a former (and first female) President, Retail Merchants Association, Leadership Metro Richmond '09, Network of Enterprising Women, Business Network International (BNI), Richmond Dive Club and other civic organizations. Jeanne is well-known and respected throughout the Richmond business community.

    She has chaired fundraising events for Sgt Santa Inc, the Rotary Club of Richmond, and founded "Bucks4Boobs" (a fundraiser for Susan G. Komen, Race for the Cure). Jeanne is also a proud graduate of the University of Richmond's School of Continuing Studies '08.

    John Bennis is co-founder of Sequel Inc, a multi-line company, with a partner in Raleigh. Bennis is a resident if Virginia Beach and has been involved with the regional association as a member and a leader. 

    John was Chair of the VAPPA Show Committee and is of the few recipients of the VAPPA Hall of Fame award. 

    Most recently John was honored with the VAPPA Humanitarian Award for his volunteer and philanthropic continual efforts in the community.

    “VAPPA is so fortunate to have the commitment of the professionals that serve on the VAPPA Board. Collectively we all represent the diversity of the companies that comprise the industry. I am thrilled that Jeanne and John are joining our group. It will be a pleasure to work with both of them to enhance the services we bring to our members.” – Harold Wood, 2015 Board President.

    For a full Board of Director Roster please click here.


    Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) is a non-profit trade association formed in 1986 to advance the image of promotional products and their use in Virginia.

    Through trade shows, social events and education, we work to foster the relationships of Suppliers and Distributors to continue to grow the business in these areas. We also work to educate and include end-users in this process by offering end-user tradeshows.


  • 29 Dec 2014 6:27 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    Alexander has offered industry award winning quality for over 70 years. Most of you know them as the screwdriver company, but over the years Alexander has evolved to who they are today. They embrace their past, while attacking the future; unveiling a refreshed corporate brand image that builds on Alexander’s powerful legacy and creates a new, modern look and feel that positions them for the next 70 years. Alexander launched their newest line featuring Bluetooth speakers, power banks and fun tech accessories. Check out their new reinvented 2015 catalog today.

    Theresa Vail, Marketing and Merchandising Manager for Alexander Manufacturing | 314-270-7916

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