Virginia Promotional Products Association

Industry News

  • 09 Dec 2014 9:51 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    Bille Jo Walchek
    Director of Marketing
    214.631.6000 x4539


    With SAGE FastTrackTM, SAGE Advantage Members can now update their catalogs in the SAGE database through a new streamlined, expedited process.

    Addison, Texas (December 8, 2014) – SAGE has just announced the availability of FastTrackTM, a new, expedited method for suppliers to update their catalogs in the SAGE database. Using SAGE FastTrack, SAGE Advantage Members can now update their product information in the SAGE database with ease by downloading their existing product portfolio in an Excel spreadsheet, editing the spreadsheet to make necessary changes, and then submitting the modified spreadsheet (and any associated files such as product images) to the system through the SAGE Supplier Center.

    SAGE’s systems will immediately review each submission and notify the supplier in real time about common errors or concerns. If everything looks good, the update will be processed by SAGE content specialists with high priority through the special FastTrack system. All of the changes will go live on all SAGE research services within just a few days of submission.

    David Natinsky, SAGE’s President, explained, “We are committed to improving our customers’ businesses and helping them spend their time most effectively. FastTrack greatly simplifies our catalog updating process and makes it as easy as possible for suppliers of all sizes to update their product catalogs as efficiently as possible.” Natinsky continued, “Our suppliers have always valued how accurate their product information is as a result of our thorough updating process. Now they can still reap the benefits of accurate listings, but without sacrificing valuable time. We expect that many Advantage Members will utilize this service to get their catalogs updated for the new year.”

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEpage1image17000

    The new FastTrack service is in addition to SAGE’s other catalog update methods, including real-time updating through the SAGE Supplier Center, full integration to suppliers’ back-end platforms using the recently-introduced Supplier Integration Toolkit, as well as “regular track” updating by sending catalog information to SAGE for handling by SAGE’s extensive team of in-house content specialists.

    SAGE Supplier Advantage Members should log into the SAGE Supplier Center to get started using FastTrack to update their catalog. More information on FastTrack and SAGE Advantage Membership can be found at

    About SAGE

    SAGE, based in Addison, Texas, is the leading provider of information, marketing and business management solutions to the promotional products industry. In addition to SAGE’s flagship SAGE OnlineTM and SAGE MobileTM research and business management services, SAGE also provides the industry with other research services, order management, website and email services, e-commerce solutions, end user catalogs, artwork services, payment processing, tradeshows, tradeshow management services, and lead retrieval software. SAGE is also the exclusive technology provider for members of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the industry’s non-profit association. For more information, please visit or call 800.925.7243.


  • 14 May 2014 7:43 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    commonsku and VAPPA Announce Strategic Partnership

    commonsku and the Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) have announced a strategic partnership that will offer commonsku’s software as a member benefit to VAPPA members.

    The partnership will give VAPPA members access to the suite of complete business management tools available as part of the commonsku software platform.

    While the commonsku Social Business platform is free for all members, VAPPA members will enjoy a 10% discount off commonsku’s Customer Relationship and Order Management platforms for the first year. It will also allow VAPPA and its members to be in closer contact with each other on a day to day basis.

    "Our goal with commonsku is to help distributors and suppliers grow their business by offering easy to use, cloud based business management tools," said CEO, Mark Graham. “VAPPA is an industry association that promotes social connectedness, making a positive impact in the industry, saving time, and saving money.  The partnership will give VAPPA members access to commonsku’s suite of complete business management tools at a discount.”

    "We are so excited to be partnering with commonsku,” said VAPPA Board President, Bob Heintz. “Doing so allows us to bring another feature of membership to VAPPA members. Beyond that, this reinforces part of VAPPA's mission which is to connect our membership with other industry professionals. This platform is designed to do exactly that. The products available to VAPPA members at a discounted rate are a bonus and another tool to help them achieve their business goals. We hope that our members take the time to investigate commonsku and learn how it can play a role in their business and marketing plans." 

    Supplier and distributor members can learn more at

    The streamlined communication in commonsku will allow VAPPA members to have quicker and easier access to the people and information that matters to them.

    About commonsku

    commonsku is the easiest way to run your promotional products business. It has all of the software tools you need to run a modern promotional products business. commonsku is unique to the industry as it is the only community where suppliers and distributors gather to help each other close more business. Learn more at

    About VAPPA

    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 include our end-users in this process by offering end-user tradeshows.

    Press Contacts

    Mark Graham, CEO/commonsku

    mark (at)

    Dana Geiger

    Executive Director, VAPPA

    Dana (at)

  • 14 May 2014 3:20 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)


    Contact Joelle Stahlecker Maple Ridge Farms, Inc. 715-693-4346

    May 5, 2014

    Mosinee, WI – Maple Ridge Farms President, Tom Riordan, announced the appointment of Ray Rodriguez, a 30-year industry veteran, to the newly created position of Eastern Regional Sales Manager, directing the company’s current multiline sales representation to promotional products distributors from Maine to Florida to Mississippi.

    Rodriguez was principle of Multiline Marketing Group, the first and only national independent sales rep group in the promotional products industry. Most recently he was in sales management for a leading motivational award and recognition company and a major drinkware supplier. In 2000, Rodriguez was listed by

    The Counselor as one of the top 13 people to watch for industry excellence.

    In announcing his hire, Riordan noted, "I have known Ray for many years and have a great deal of respect for the outstanding work he has done with some of the most

    recognized supplier brands in the industry. We are excited to be able to put his expertise and talent to work at Maple Ridge to continue to strengthen our presence with distributors in his territory."

    With offices in New York and Florida, Rodriguez will be responsible for eastern region sales activity including attending major distributor account sales calls, managing sales reps and attending industry trade shows. Rodriguez will also assist Riordan in developing sales and marketing strategies for Maple Ridge.

    Stated Rodriguez on his newest role, “Maple Ridge Farms is poised for explosive growth, and Tom Riordan has made an extraordinary commitment to make Maple Ridge Farms the best-of-the-best in the food gift category.” He continued, “I am incredibly excited to join Tom’s team and lend my experience in advancing the company’s continued history of success.”


    In a related role, Rodriguez added he would also be responsible for sales representation in the same capacity for California based wearable’s supplier Apollo USA (ASI 73392). He stated, “This shared position as Eastern Regional Sales Manager for both Maple Ridge Farms and Apollo will provide for a strong, comprehensive offering when presenting both lines to our distributor network.”
    A separate press release will be forthcoming from Apollo this month. Rodriguez’s effective date for both companies is May 1, 2014.

    The eastern sales region that Rodriguez will oversee includes: ME, VT, NH, MA, NY, PA, WV, VA, NJ, DE, RI, CT, MD, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, KY, TN, FL. In addition Rodriguez will be responsible for representing Maple Ridge Farms to a national industry distributor-buying group.

    Located in Mosinee, WI, Maple Ridge Farms, Inc. (ASI 68680, PPAI 114165, UPIC: MAPLE, SAGE 57654) founded in 1979, is a leading supplier of food gifts to the promotional products industry. Maple Ridge Farms excels in customer service and is the recipient of The ASI Distributor Choice Winner for 13 consecutive years; as well as the recipient of multiple PPAI Supplier Star Awards and Promotional Marketing Supplier Star Awards. Recognized for outstanding product freshness,

    the line includes a complete variety of innovatively packaged candies, premium chocolates, fresh-roasted nuts, made-from-scratch baked goods, naturally aged cheeses, and applewood smoked meats. For more information on the company, visit

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  • 14 Apr 2014 4:13 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    For more information, contact: Mary Ellen Sokalski, 800-877-9911, ext. 1014

    PHILADELPHIA, PA -- Marc Held, an 18 year sales veteran known as “the face of Bodek and Rhodes”, was promoted to the position of Vice President of National Sales, effective April 1, 2014.

    “Marc has truly earned this position,” noted President/CEO Michael Rhodes.  “His remarkable work ethic, follow-through, leadership and sales results, combined with the amazing key contacts he developed who rely on him as their trusted apparel advisor, expert and friend… all these things  led to our decision to recognize him as one of our leaders spearheading initiatives for growth here at Bodek and Rhodes. “

    Held’s career skyrocketed after joining Bodek and Rhodes from the sporting goods industry as his second career job after college, leaping from an inside sales rep to outside rep, to sales manager and then National Sales Director.  He not only has been a huge contributor to Bodek and Rhodes’ rise to the six largest supplier and third largest apparel wholesaler in promotional products, but also in his relationship-building with key accounts, suppliers and industry leaders through the country.  He has gained a reputation as a talented sales professional, speaker, apparel expert and industry insider whose advice and participation is sought out by a wide array of individuals and organizations, most specifically in his recent service as President and board member of the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association, Co-Chair of the PPAI North American Leadership Conference Task Force, and the Board of Directors of the Premier Group, and as a top-rated speaker for both PPAI and ASI.  He was also lauded with ASI’s Industry Rep of the Year in 2007, and as a PPAI Rising Star in 2012.

    In addition to Marc’s current responsibility of directing the Outside Sales Team, he will take on responsibility for developing sales objectives and strategies for all National Accounts and directing their execution.  Further, Marc will join the Executive committee and participate in developing the overall strategic direction of the company.

    “I am humbled and flattered to earn this new opportunity.  I feel I have grown up here at Bodek and Rhodes.  All along the way, I have been listened to, acknowledged for my hard work, and appreciated.  I can’t tell you how exciting it is that I will continue to be an important part of Bodek and Rhodes’ future success, developing the customers I love,” comments Held proudly.

    Bodek and Rhodes is a national, family-owned apparel distributor headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. They offer quick nationwide shipping from five strategically-located distribution centers in Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Florida and Massachusetts. More information on Bodek and Rhodes is available online at or at


  • 09 Feb 2014 6:57 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)


    Contact: Abby Robida

    Video Marketing Specialist Showdown Displays
    Direct Phone: (763) 746-1138


    Las Vegas, NV (January 14, 2014) undefined Showdown Displays® kicked off PPAI Las Vegas with a bang! During their National Sales Meeting, they announced the 2013 sales award recipients. Awards were given out for: Independent Sales Representative and Factory Sales Representative of the Year.

    Receiving the Independent Sales Representative award was: The Watson Group, which includes Bo Turner and Tina Jameson-Brown. The Watson Group services the South East region of the United States, which is where they are also headquartered. The 2013 Factory Representative of the Year was awarded to Kirsten Olson, the Key Account Representative for the Mid-Atlantic region.

    “Because of fantastic talents across our organization, Showdown Displays continues to deliver and delight our distributor partners. Bo, Tina and Kirsten are tremendous examples of that talent and they personify our values and ideals to always deliver legendary customer experiences.” Stated Kevin Walsh, Showdown Displays® Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

    The PPAI Las Vegas Show was held January 13th-17th at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. Showdown Displays®, an A+ SAGE and five star ASI Supplier, presented their new 2014 products and services at the show. Check out for new products, services and to request your 2014 catalog.

    ## #

    About Showdown Displays®
    Showdown Displays® is the leading domestic manufacturer and supplier of visual communications, event and display merchandise to the Advertising Specialty and Promotional Products industries. Showdown Displays® is a subsidiary of Sign-Zone, Inc. headquartered
    in Ramsey, Minnesota. Showdown Displays
    ® owns and operates a highly efficient, environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing facility in Minnesota and augments its domestic capabilities with global sourcing operations. For more information about Showdown Displays® please contact us at 888-376-7469.

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  • 02 Feb 2014 4:59 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)


    Contact: Kim R. Todora



    IRVING, Tex., (January 15, 2014) – Larry Arntz Inc., won a Bronze award in the 2014 Pyramid Award Competition sponsored by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI). Twenty-Eight Gold, Silver and Bronze winners were recognized during the annual awards presentation at The PPAI Expo 2014 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, January 15, 2014.

    The Pyramid Awards, first introduced in 1958, have grown more relevant with time by recognizing award-winning campaigns that demonstrate the effective use of promotional products, packaging and copywriting to create integrated marketing communications programs that deliver quantifiable results. Winners of PPAI Pyramid Awards are recognized for the outstanding, creative use of promotional products in a variety of client programs and campaigns.

    “Larry Arntz Inc is a thought-leading organization that embodies the initiative, vision and innovation defining the promotional products industry," said Paul Bellantone, CAE, president and CEO at PPAI. "We are pleased the Pyramid Awards competition is encouraging excellence and delivering exposure for these deserving award winners. It is through these achievements that promotional products continue to play an essential role in successful marketing and branding strategies.”

    Larry Arntz Inc. was presented a Bronze award for the 2014 PPAI Pyramid Award in the category of Distributor / Supplier Colaboration. These winners were selected by a panel of industry professionals and independent, outside marketing and advertising professionals. For more information about the PPAI awards program visit or contact the PPAI Awards and Recognition department at

    About PPAI
    Founded in 1903, the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) is the world’s largest and oldest not-for-profit association for the $18.5 billion promotional products industry, which comprises 33,841 businesses, a workforce of 498,853 professionals and more than 10,600 corporate members. PPAI represents the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocates on its behalf. PPAI operates the industry’s largest trade show, (The PPAI Expo is held each January); leading promotional products safety and compliance program, more than 50-year-old professional development and certification program; industry trade journals and periodicals; and is the developer of UPIC (Universal Promotional Identification Code), the industry’s only free identification system and universal company database. The multi-billion-dollar industry includes wearables, writing instruments, calendars, drinkware and many other items, usually imprinted with a company’s name, logo or message. For more information, visit and find us on Twitter @PPAI_HQ, Facebook, YouTube and Pinterest.




  • 12 Dec 2013 11:34 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    SAGE ShowLink 5.5 adds prospect ratings, business card scanning, improved PDF-417 scanning, repeat visitor alerting, and much more.

    Addison, TX (December 12, 2013) – SAGE announces the release of the latest version of SAGE ShowLink, the only lead retrieval service built specifically for the promotional products industry. The new version, 5.5, adds support for scanning business cards in addition to show badges. Using the camera on a smartphone or tablet, users can quickly scan business cards to record and track leads for a tradeshow or event that does not use barcoded badges.

    David Natinsky, President of SAGE, commented, “We know that there are a lot of industry shows and events that don’t use barcoded badges yet. Now, exhibitors can use ShowLink at all of those events as well as the larger shows. It makes ShowLink a truly universal lead retrieval service that exhibitors can use all year long.”

    The latest version also includes a prospect rating field allowing exhibitor sales staff to rate the prospect on a simple five-star system, giving exhibitors valuable information about which leads are warmer than others. SAGE has also added a feature to ShowLink called repeat visitor alerting. This unique feature will tell suppliers which attendees have been scanned in their booth at a prior show.

    Natinsky continued, “Suppliers in the industry often tell us about the importance of lead follow-up in order to fully realize the value and potential of a tradeshow. Collecting valuable information onsite, along with correlating lead data with the supplier’s prior data from previous shows, gives suppliers critical information they need to effectively follow-up on their leads post- show.”page1image17048

    SAGE ShowLink 5.5 is available now from the Apple App Store or Google Play. It is a free update for existing ShowLink subscribers. New customers are encouraged to contact SAGE for more information and to purchase prior to PPAI Expo in January. For more information, visit or call 800.925.7243.

    About SAGE ShowLink

    SAGE ShowLink is an advanced lead retrieval service designed specifically for the promotional products industry. Using an iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android device, or Windows- based laptop, suppliers can scan badges at industry tradeshows to collect leads and schedule follow-ups. ShowLink can even collect sample orders and detailed notes. Custom qualifier capabilities are built right into ShowLink at no additional charge. In addition, ShowLink can take pictures of attendees, sync between multiple devices in the booth, scan business cards at shows that do not have barcoded badges, and much more. All leads are automatically securely sent to the cloud for easy post-show management, reporting, and statistics. ShowLink subscriptions are $295 per year per device. The optional Bluetooth® scanner is $495.

    About SAGE

    SAGE, based in Addison, Texas, is the leading provider of information, marketing and business management solutions to the promotional products industry. In addition to SAGE’s flagship SAGE OnlineTM and SAGE MobileTM research and business management services, SAGE also provides the industry with other research services, order management, website and email services, e-commerce solutions, end user catalogs, artwork services, payment processing, tradeshows, tradeshow management services, and lead retrieval software. SAGE is also the exclusive technology provider for members of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the industry’s non-profit association. For more information, please visit or call 800.925.7243.


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    Bille Jo Walchek
    Director of Marketing
  • 08 Oct 2013 8:19 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    A complete customer relationship management (CRM) system is now available as part of the latest version of the industry’s most popular research and business management service.

    Addison, TX (September 12, 2013) – SAGE announces SAGE OnlineTM 10.0, the latest version of the industry’s most popular research and business management service. As one of the company’s most significant updates yet in the 21-year history of SAGE Online, 10.0 includes over 150 new features, including:

    •   Brand new look and feel

    •   Faster performance and extended multi-tasking capabilitiespage1image8264

        New complete customer relationship management (CRM) system

    •   New sample inventory management system

    •   Product list updates to make searches easier than ever before

    •   Product personal information report

    •   Presentation publisher enhancements

    •   Order management enhancements

    David Natinsky, SAGE’s President, commented, “The new CRM area in SAGE Online is something that we’re very excited to get into our customers’ hands. It was the main missing piece towards making SAGE Online a complete business management tool for distributors in our industry.” The new CRM area gives distributors the ability to keep track of all of their clients, including full contact information, account information, groups, ratings, sales potential and more. A complete tasking system is also included that gives customers the ability to create

    tasks, track their progress, and complete them. All activity in the CRM area is logged in a convenient history area so that distributors have complete access to the entire historical picture for a client. Users can even attach or scan documents into the system to eliminate paper files and to eliminate potential risk of loss at your office. Best of all, the CRM system tightly integrates with the rest of SAGE Online for seamless interaction among product research, order management, and presentations. Natinsky continued, “Now, for no extra charge, distributors can manage all of their client interactions within SAGE Online. That means customers that previously didn’t have a good CRM tool now have a built-in solution and those who may have been using a third party tool can now hopefully save some money.”

    SAGE Online 10.0 also includes a brand new sample inventory management system, the first of its kind in the industry, as well as several new search features, further solidifying SAGE Online as the most advanced product research tool in the industry.

    SAGE Online 10.0 also includes a number of new order management features that have been requested by customers. Natinsky commented, “Besides the big new stuff, we always spend a lot of time in our updates to focus on the little things that customers have been asking for that can make their daily lives easier. These sometimes aren’t big fancy features, but little tweaks that can still make a big difference.”

    SAGE Online 10.0 has begun rolling out to all SAGE Online customers. Customers will receive an “update available” message as soon as the new version is available to them. SAGE expects the roll-out to be complete by mid-October. There is no additional charge for the upgrade. SAGE encourages distributors who are not already SAGE Online subscribers to take advance of its complimentary 30-day subscription to SAGE Online to give it a test drive.

    About SAGE Online

    SAGE Online is the industry’s #1-rated and most popular product research service in the promotional products industry. Serving the majority of promotional products distributors, SAGE Online provides complete product and supplier research, impressive presentation capabilities, order management, customer relationship management (CRM), electronic catalogs, supplier specials, tradeshow information, SAGEimTM instant messaging, order tracking, and much more. SAGE Online starts at just $49 per month with reasonably priced additional user licenses to fit organizations both large and small.


    About SAGE

    SAGE, based in Addison, Texas, is the leading provider of information, marketing and business management solutions to the promotional products industry. In addition to SAGE’s flagship SAGE OnlineTM and SAGE MobileTM research and business management services, SAGE also provides the industry with other research services, order management, website and email services, e-commerce solutions, end user catalogs, artwork services, payment processing, tradeshows, tradeshow management services, and lead retrieval software. SAGE is also the exclusive technology provider for members of the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), the industry’s non-profit association. The Power of Two relationship between SAGE and PPAI allows distributors to benefit from association membership and SAGE services at a substantial savings. For more information, please visit or call 800.925.7243.


  • 26 Jul 2013 4:22 PM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    For Immediate Release: July 8, 2013 Erie, Pennsylvania…….Kippie Helzel, MAS, Vice President of Sales for CPS/Keystone announces the appointment of Rhonda Reilly as Eastern Regional Sales Manager.  Reilly is an 11 year veteran of the promotional products industry and was most recently with Hampden Watch Corporation. 

    Reilly sees great opportunity with CPS.  “I wanted to join a dynamic company where I could work not only in a sales capacity, but could also be a part of creating the strategic vision for our future.”  Reilly’s territory will include the Northeast states as well as key accounts in several southern states. “Because of our strength in providing practical commodity items at value prices, CPS was able to weather the economic challenges of the last years and maintain a strong market position. The decision to add territory reps is one we have reviewed and evaluated for some time, and the timing was right both in terms of sales growth opportunities and, most importantly, to bring Rhonda on to the team.   Rhonda has broad based experience with a variety of product lines, and she understands our market and distributors.  She will be an essential team member in the field and on our strategic sales development team,” stated Helzel.

    Based on her prior experience with several well known industry suppliers, Reilly expects a smooth transition to CPS.  “I know distributors and how they work, from the smaller to the larger offices.  The key is to support them professionally and to do what you say you’re going to do.  I am committed to that, and I know firsthand from observing Kippie that this is what she and Keystone are all about.  This is a great opportunity for me to take my dynamics, marry them to a first tier supplier, and get out and do what I love to do:  help distributors grow their business, and mine, by creating responsive customer and marketing support ,” states Reilly.

    Reilly is a graduate of Mississippi State University where she majored in Business Administration, with an emphasis in marketing and management.  She is a former L.P.G.A. Touring Professional.

    CPS is a completely vertically integrated manufacturer to the promotional products industry, with the ability to design and create molds for new items in their tool and die division; mold the products in their state of the art injection molding plant; and complete the process by decorating the products at the Keystone Line factory.  The company employs over 120 people at the Keystone factory, and is a category S-8 PPAI Supplier.

    CPS was a PPAI Supplier Star Award of Merit Winner in 2011, has a 5 Star rating with ASI as well as an A rating with SAGE, and has been recognized as a Gold Multimillion Dollar Roundtable Supplier by ASI for the last 18 years.


    For additional information contact Kippie Helzel, 800-772-8247 x 515


    Custom Plastic Specialties

    CPS/ Keystone

    5678 West Ridge Road

    Erie, PA 16506

    ASI 43051; PPAI 111040; PPPC 961204; SAGE 50202 

    UPIC: Keystone

  • 26 Jul 2013 10:59 AM | Dana Geiger (Administrator)

    VIRGINIA (July 25, 2013) The Virginia Promotional Products Association (VAPPA) is delighted to welcome Todd Mawyer of TK Promotions to the Board of Directors.  

    Mawyer is President of TK Promotions, a distributorship in Richmond, Virginia, that he founded in 2008.  Todd is an active member, volunteer, and supporter of VAPPA. He is a proud graduate of the University of Tennessee and his passions lay with helping companies effectively promote their brands while serving his community in the process. He is actively involved at his church and enjoys playing golf on any day but Sunday.

    “ It is an absolute pleasure to have Todd join the Board. He has been a tremendous supporter of the association as a member and volunteer. I feel confident that he will bring great contributions that will help us continue to serve the membership.”  - Bob Heintz, VAPPA Board President.

    Todd was elected by the Board to fill a vacancy completing a term through Dec 31, 2014. 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.

PO Box 56283
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

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