January/February 2024

President's Column Chris Babiash

We made it! 

Another year surviving the relentless Q4 budget liquidation and holiday rush in the promo industry and navigating the constant chatter of inflation and the uncertainty of recession. We continue to see acquisitions. The top 100 suppliers and distributors continue to grow and expand. There is an abundance of personnel movement and endless amounts of investment in technology, processes, and equipment.

The buzz coming out of the recent PPAI expo was dominated by AI and sustainability. AI challenges change and creates fear, and many wonder how it will affect the promo industry. Examples of instant product concepts, conceptual art, and personal assistants (avatars) that look like us, talk like us, and engage like us are mind-blowing. They instantly substantiate Dale Denham’s remarks at PPAI’s LDW to ‘Change your mindset.’

Industry-leading suppliers SanMar and Gemline gave a tremendous presentation at SkuconX and instantly challenged every member to question what they are doing to be more sustainable, change the way they manufacture, be reliant on forcing factories to develop eco-friendly materials, and not accept the status quo.

Your customers are going to continue to ask for recycled, repurposed, and sustainable products. States will continue to ban plastics, PVC, and harmful chemicals. Distributors are going to have a responsibility to buy from suppliers who can transparently divulge their supply chains.

The year ahead is exciting. Promo will continue to thrive and always be needed, and it is our job as industry professionals to engage, educate, advocate, and lead.

That is what we expect from suppliers and distributors and exactly what clients should expect from us.

The success and future of our regional association will rely on our ability to adapt, implement, and create value for our membership. We have a powerful and fantastic UMAPP board in 2024 that is eager to engage and partner to maximize that value.

I have large aspirations as President of UMAPP in 2024, which include.

(1) Implement a new strategic plan

(2) Review and update all bylaws and policies

(3) Increase social events and collaboration

(4) Add additional professional development that includes CEU credits

I would love to engage with, talk to, and listen to any thoughts from any UMAPP member or member employee. Please reach out chris@booshiepromo.com or give me a ring 612-590-0065, after all - we work for our membership.


Chris Babiash

UMAPP President of the Board

President & CEO – Booshie Inc.

Upcoming Events 

Lunch 'N Learn

February 6, 2024 | 11:30 - 1:30

Storm Creek, Starline and Sofia's Cookies

Held at Storm Creek, Eagan | Lunch provided

Presenters: Storm Creek, Starline, and Sofia's Cookies

Includes optional factory tour of Storm Creek

UMAPP members: $15 per person

Nonmembers: $30 per person

Read More/Register

Wild Wednesday Webinar & Tuesday Learning Lab

February 13 - “A Tour of QuickBooks ONLINE and How it Integrates with SAGE Online”

February 28 - “WOW Starts with You!” from Showdown Displays

Register Here (requires sign in to the UMAPP website)

The Room Show

Thursday, April 4, 2024 | Crowne Plaza, Plymouth, Minnesota | 9:00 - 3:30

Exhibitors: Ace High + Compass Industries - Alphabroder - Bag Makers - Denik (new UMAPP member!) - Goldstar - Hirsch + The Game Headwear - HPG - Beacon & Best

Showdown - Stormtech - The Magnet Group - Tomax

Distributor registration will open mid-February at UMAPP.org

AI Mastery For Business - Save the Date!

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! Regular price: $50 | UMAPP members: $20

Registration through The Business Leaders Breakfast Forum along with more detailed information is coming soon.

Golf & Brand Connection Expo

August 5, 2024

Summer Golf! Shotgun start at 12:00 noon

August 6, 2024

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

Registration opening in the spring!

Welcome to a New Service Provider

UMAPP has coordinated with multiple companies who may offer useful services for our members. Sam Kabert, the keynote speaker at the UMAPP Brand Connection Expo in August, has created a new program and is offering a discount to UMAPP members. Sam is our newest service member. To view the others, CLICK HERE.

Breathwork for Business | UMAPP Members: $45/month | EMAIL Sam to sign up with UMAPP member pricing.

New Member Spotlight



Emily Myers

3200 143rd Circle

Burnsville, MN 55306



Bywater Business Solutions


Chris Ferguson

416 Main Street

Somerset, WI 54025



Grey Duck Promotions


Chad Moser

1703 1st Street E

Glencoe, MN 55336



English Advertising Co.


Sara English

4200 Poplar Bridge Road

Bloomington, MN 55437



Hightech Grafix


Bryan Nichols

1001 Commercial Boulevard N.

Arlington, TX 76001



Laser Ink Solutions


Brett Johnigk

970 McDole Drive

Sugar Grove, IL 60554



National Bank Products


Brandon Slade

6100 Lakeview Road

Warner Robins, GA 31088



UMAPP's Pro Dev Committee and Social Media Committee are 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

Focus-Boosting Tips When You Have A

Million Things To Do

Reprinted with permission from PPAI Media

When your day or week is jammed with deadlines, due dates and deliverables, you might be tempted to juggle them all. But, as you probably know, multitasking doesn’t work. It only zaps your productivity and adds to your stress. 


Science shows the best way to boost your productivity isn’t to bounce around between projects – it’s to focus on a single task at a time.  

Read More
Did you know?

. . . The US population is the oldest it has ever been? The median age of Americans has reached 38.9 years - up 0.2 years since 2021 and a full 3.5 years higher since 2000

. . . with more than half the population over age 40 in one-third of states. US Bureau of the Census, Suitland, Maryland. Census.gov.

. . . Your voice may indicate diabetes? Electronically comparing smartphone recordings revealed that differences in pitch, breathiness, hoarseness and voice roughness are 75% accurate in men and 70% in women at predicting type 2 diabetes. Study of 267 adults by researchers at Klick Applied Sciences, Klick, Inc., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Digital Health.

. . . Banks are backing down on overdraft fees? More banks are reducing or eliminating overdraft fees, sometimes offering customers installment loans instead. The number of fees is down 6% since 2021, and the average amount has been slashed by half, to $15. Banks also are extending grace periods, declining to charge for insignificant overdrafts and limiting the number of fees they apply in any one day. Financial Health Network, a nonprofit that tracks financial stability, Chicago, FinHealthNetwork.org. Moebs Services, financial research firm, Lake Forest, Ilinois, Moebs.com.

"Do what you can to show you care about other people, and you will make our world a better place."

Rosalynn Carter, first lady to former President Jimmy Carter, mental health advocate.



Have you ever searched for a service provider for health, retirement benefits, life insurance or a financial advisor that is knowledgeable about the promotional products industry? UMAPP is compiling a list of companies that have experience in our industry to use as a resource for your own personal or business requirements.

Visit Our Service Providers Page
Industry News

Read all the latest industry news.


Storm Creek

American Solutions for Business



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 UMAPP.org for more information.

Upper Midwest Association of Promotional Professionals info@umapp.org

UMAPP.org | 651-734-9767