March/April 2024

President's Column Chris Babiash

Hello Spring (maybe)!

2024 has rocketed through Q1 and the industry appears to be flat in most aspects. The bulk of the industry's major tradeshows have come and gone and many regionals, like UMAPP, are getting ready for their annual events.  

We recently held our educational Lunch ‘N Learn at Storm Creek, along with Starline and Sophia’s Cookies, and we continue to see high attendance at all our educational events from both suppliers and distributors. Please look for upcoming notices on more opportunities, we have asked our committee to add at least two more events this year.

Many large suppliers are seeing dreary numbers, and from the representatives I have engaged with, many are scrambling to increase their numbers that are down significantly. We believe the industry is strong overall and membership numbers have increased at UMAPP, especially with new suppliers looking to gain access to some of the nation’s biggest distributor members.

As your regional President, I get the opportunity to attend and listen to many meetings across the spectrum. PPAI released their new membership platform which I fully support. It simplifies a membership structure that has not been changed in years and for the most part, puts the choice and power of benefits into the renewing distributor or supplier.

In May, we will send three UMAPP board members to Washington D.C. for another year of Legislative Education and Action Day (LEAD) along with three UMAPP regional members. Early signs show a focus on shipping reforms, gig economy workers, and the overall value of promotional products and their use in nearly any and every business and office.

My challenge to our members is to engage. The strength of regionals is our ability to offer continuous local events that give direct access to building partnerships between suppliers and distributors. I consider the majority of my UMAPP suppliers as friends, not representatives. I would also validate that some of my best industry friends are other regional distributors. We collaborate, engage, and help each other because of the trust we have built through the conduit of UMAPP. 

UMAPP’s value is the variety of both professional and social events offered monthly to our membership, many free or discounted and included with your membership. 

Plus, regionals offer annual events to distributors’ end-user clients – which you will not see nationally or have the business size to support a stand-alone event. 

I’d love to meet every one of you at an education, connects, advocacy, or tradeshow event.

Engage is 2024.

Chris Babiash, MAS

UMAPP Board President

Upcoming Events 

Wild Wednesday Webinar

March 27

11:30 Central

"Level Up Your Marketing"

Presented by Charity Gibson

Register (requires login to the UMAPP website)

The Room Show

"Sales Safari"

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Crowne Plaza, Plymouth

9:00 - 3:30

Exhibitors: Ace High + Compass Industries - Alphabroder - Bag Makers Denik - Goldstar - Hirsch + The Game Headwear - HPG - Beacon & Best - Showdown - Stormtech

The Magnet Group - Tomax


Social Event

April 22 - Earth Day

Join us as we meet at Wicked Wort Brewery and celebrate Earth Day with our sponsor, Fields Manufacturing. More information and registration to arrive soon.

AI Mastery For Business -

April 30, 2024 | 8:30 - 11:30

Hopkins Center for the Arts

UMAPP is partnering with The Business Leaders Breakfast Forum to bring this valuable program to our members. Staff of UMAPP member companies will receive a 60% discount off the normal ticket price!

UMAPP members: $20 (standard price is $50)


Lunch 'N Learn

May 2, 2024 11:30 - 1:00

Golden Nugget Restaurant

Minnetonka, Minnesota

"Learn How to Boost Your Sales"

Join us for lunch and meet with Roni Wright, The Book Company, and Steve Donlin, Team Donlin, as they talk about HOW to boost sales.

Space is limited to 38 people.


Golf & Brand Connection Expo

August 5, 2024

Summer Golf! Shotgun start at 12:00 noon

Golfer registration is open now.

August 6, 2024

Brand Connection Expo End Buyer Show - 10:00-2:00

Exhibitor registration is open now.

Distributor registration is opening soon.

Golf Registration
Exhibitor Registration BCE

New Member Spotlight

Great Lakes


Dan Brown

610 SE Ninth Street, Unit 106

Minneapolis, MN 55414


Bergman Incentives


Mike Battershell

9411 F Street

Omaha, NE 68127


Insight Printing and Apparel


Nick Miller

12600 Tigua Road

Pine City, MN 55063


UPROMO Corporation


Annie Ren

3048 S. Hacienda Boulevard

Hacienda Heights, CA 91745


Keepsake Products USA


Justine Palm

651 Garden Street

Carlstadt, NJ 07072



Partners for Incentives


Joy Smith

6545 Carnegie Avenue

Cleveland, OH 44140


TradeNet Publishing, Inc.


Mercedes Mertz

1200 Energy Center Drive

Gardner, KS 66030




Todd Nimmer

5300 S 108th Street Suite 15


Hales Corners, WI 53130



Brian Stidham


7998 Georgetown Road, Suite 200

Indianapolis, IN 46268



Anthony DiRienzo

39 Camelot Drive

Ottawa, ON K2G5W6

877-326-7651 x513

Prism Design & Embroidery


Jennifer Neumann

6372 Main Street

North Branch, MN 55056



UMAPP's Pro Dev Committee is searching for additional members. The time commitment is low. Meetings are via Zoom with the chair and committee. Communications are usually via email.

Email the UMAPP Office

Ask These 4 Questions To Perfect Your Elevator Pitch

Reprinted with permission from PPAI Media

What do you say when someone asks, “So, what do you do?” If you have a succinct, snappy statement at the ready, you’re on the right track. Your elevator pitch should be about the length of an elevator ride – or about 30 to 60 seconds. 


It’s not much time, which is why you should make the most of it. Like Steve Strauss, an author and columnist, says, you only have one chance to make a good impression. 


Read More
Did you know?

. . . Older adults like tech as much as younger people? But unlike younger generations who are drawn to tech for its own sake, older adults are more inclined to use it when there is a practical application. Examples: 28% of older Americans own a wearable fitness device, and 77% of wearable owners use the device daily. One-third of older people own voice-activated home assistants, such as Amazon Echo and Google Nest Audio.

. . . Begone irritating clothing labels! QR codes manufactured into the fabric will replace itchy tags and allow companies to gather more information about how, where and when the clothes were made . . . encourage sustainability . . . and boost the resale market, since counterfeiting of brands will become harder. A date for the switch to QR codes hasn't been announced. American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA), Washington, DC.

. . . AI diagnoses autism in young children. An artificial intelligence system that analyzes brain MRIs was 98.5% accurate at diagnosing autism in kids between the ages of two and four. The system looks for anomalies in connections between parts of the brain. Study of 226 children led by researchers at University of Louisville, presented at the 2023 meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

. . . Fewer people are applying to business school. Applications to 18 of the top 26 American MBA programs have fallen since 2017. Declines range from a 1% drop in the case of Carnegie Mellon to a startling 34% at UCLA. Bloomberg Businessweek.

"The sooner we agree that we're just other versions of each other . . . the sooner we will find some sense of world peace."

Norman Lear - TV writer and producer, winner of six Primetime Emmy Awards



We Have Service Providers!

  • Health Insurance options for Staff
  • Retirement Planning
  • Life insurance for staff
  • A financial advisor that is knowledgeable about the promotional products industry
  • Meditation Group
  • Wanting to sell your business or acquire one?

UMAPP has compiled a list of companies that have experience in our industry to use as a resource for your own personal or business requirements.

  • Do you have a business you would like to recommend to other members of UMAPP? EMAIL the office.
Visit Our Service Providers Page
Industry News

Read all the latest industry news.

Maple Ridge Farms

American Solutions for Business

The Koozie Group

Storm Creek

NC Custom

Midnite Snax

Read More

What is UMAPP?

You are receiving this email because you have participated in our events, joined our mailing list, and/or are a UMAPP member. The Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals (UMAPP) is a promotional professionals regional association for companies and staff in the states of Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Western Wisconsin.

One company membership in UMAPP covers all staff. Visit for more information.

Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals | 651-734-9767