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  • April 20, 2021 12:52 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

    Thank you to all who attended the SAAGNY Outdoor Showcase held yesterday at the Crown Plaza, Suffern, NY.  With over 100 distributors in attendance along with 56 suppliers representing more than 100 lines.  

    Even through the masks you could see the smiles and enthusiasm for all those that were in attendance.  As the first in person SAAGNY trade show since Covid began,  it was a resounding success.  Although there was some light rain fifteen minutes prior to the show closing, it did not dampen anyone’s spirits.

    Congratulations to our raffle winners:

    Marcy, Harry Hoffer Advertising

    Larry, Take Off Products

    Sharon, Nexus Marketing

    Melissa, Pacesetter Awards

  • April 12, 2021 4:57 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

    The April SAAGNY Life has arrived.  Click here to get the latest from SAAGNY.     


  • March 26, 2021 1:37 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

    [Cheshire, CT March 26, 2021] Barker Specialty is pleased to announce they are celebrating 70 years in business! The promotional products company was started in 1951 by Gloria and Herb Barker who had a vision that tangible marketing products would one day become a critical advertising medium. Their thought was that useful products, those that can be seen repeatedly, would be a popular way to carry a branded message.

    “I am so proud that my parents’ vision has become a reality and the company they started in their kitchen has become one of the premier promotional products companies in the country with nearly 80 employees. While I am saddened Gloria and Herb are not here to share our 70th anniversary, I am thrilled they were both here for our 65th, and we are committed to continuing the wonderful legacy they created.”, says Gerry Barker, President of Barker Specialty.

    What started as a desire of Gloria and Herb’s to share in the joy people receive when getting a gift of a promotional item has turned into a thriving second generation family-owned business. In addition, they wanted to create a work environment where respect for fellow employees and clients was paramount. This mentality extended to the greater community where Barker Specialty has and continues to give job and internship opportunities, donations and volunteers to many worthwhile causes and organizations.

    Barker Specialty continues to thrive and stand out as a leader in the promotional products industry. With multiple recognitions including most recently the 2020 PPAI Pyramid Award for Technology, Barker Specialty is committed to growing and adapting to offering the best services for our clients for years to come!

    About Barker Specialty

    Barker Specialty has been the one-stop source for all promotional and marketing needs for over 70 years. We are a service oriented, innovative promotional marketing agency, specializing in promotional products, logo’d merchandise, apparel, premium gifts, awards, tradeshow displays and signage. Call (800) 227-5377 or visit for more information

  • March 24, 2021 10:48 AM | Donna-Jean Plante

    Industry veteran, Richard Stromberg, CAS, Chairman of StrombergBrand Umbrellas, has passed away at the age of 78.

    The Stromberg family has announced with great sadness that Richard Stromberg passed away on March 17, 2021.

    Known for his boundless positive energy and enthusiasm, even in recent years while coping with the increasing challenges presented by Multiple Sclerosis, Mr. Stromberg worked every day until his passing. Continuous development of the business and its product line was his focus, as well as directing creative projects and providing his years of wisdom to the StrombergBrand team.

    Mr. Stromberg began his career at his family’s retail/wholesale umbrella business, which was founded by his father, Jaye Stromberg, in 1942. He worked his way up from what he fondly described as “chief broom pusher” to assuming ownership in 1967.  From then on, he made it his life’s work to learn more than just about anyone about umbrella production. He wanted to know every detail about stitching, fabric, frames, components, and more -- traveling around the world from France to Italy, the UK, Germany, China, Taiwan, and South Korea to meet and work with top manufacturers. 

    After offering his products in the premium market, Mr. Stromberg entered the promotional products industry and exhibited at his first trade show in 1968, in New York City. He was interviewed on his 50th anniversary in the industry and said: “Before I signed up for that show, I didn’t even know what ‘ad specialty’ was! A neighboring exhibitor filled me in on many details of the industry. I grew to love the business and the people in it.” He was a lifelong supporter and active participant of industry groups and associations, having served on various committees over the years, and earned his CAS designation in the 1970s.

    Helen Stromberg, Mr. Stromberg’s wife, who has been with the company since 1981, continues in the position of President. Their daughter, Jennifer Stromberg, assumed the role of company Vice President in 2020, ensuring a strategic third generation management transition.

    “Richard has left us with a business that is thriving and with a wonderful team in place to continue operating in his legacy. Those of us who knew him were constantly uplifted by his favorite sayings, which were always ones of optimism: ‘Think positive,’ ‘Where there’s life there’s hope,’ and of course, ‘Carpe Diem.’  We have many things to thank him for, but most importantly, his constant encouragement to push forward, work hard, and believe in ourselves.”

    Mr. Stromberg is survived by his wife, four daughters, five grandchildren, and countless lifelong and industry friends.  In addition to his family, friends and work, his passions included reading, history, art, jazz music, astronomy, etymology, billiards, his country home, traveling to warm places, and murder mysteries.

    Those that would like to reach out to the family to offer condolences or share memories of Richard are welcome to do so at The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society  in his memory.


  • March 18, 2021 1:46 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

    SAAGNY is opening up the design of its new Promotions East logo to the community with the winner receiving a $250 gift card and free overnight stay at Promotions East 2022!

    The logo should represent Promotions East and reflect the characteristics that are unique to SAAGNY and the show.

    SAAGNY Mission: Advocating for the business development of the promotional products industry through events, networking, and education.

    Promotions East: The largest regional trade show in the Northeast being held in Atlantic City in 2022.

    • All new! Redesigned, reimagined, refreshed, and revised for YOU - the Promotional Products Professional.
    • Networking with promotional product professionals just like YOU.
    • Education that will benefit YOU and YOUR company.
    • Build relationships that will help YOU grow YOUR business.

    Contest Rules:

    • The SAAGNY Board will filter submissions to the top selections then the SAAGNY membership will vote for the final design!
    • Logo should be submitted in scalable vector format for high-resolution applications and JPG or PNG format for lower-resolution applications. Digital formats only will be accepted.
    • Logo should allow for use in both color and grayscale applications.
    • All rights to the selected logo will be retained by the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York.
    • Logo will be featured on our website and social media platforms.
    • Entrants represent and warrant that their submission(s) is/are their original work, has not been copied from others, and does not violate the intellectual property rights of any other person or entity.
    • By submitting an entry to the contest, the participant acknowledges that the logo will become property of the SAAGNY.
    • No limit to number of entries per participant.
    • The old logo can be seen by clicking here.
    • E-mail your logo design as a JPEG file to Include your full name, telephone number, address, and e-mail address.
    • All designs must be submitted by April 19
  • March 09, 2021 10:36 AM | Donna-Jean Plante

    Attention all Distributors, Suppliers, and Multi-Line representatives -  if you employ independent contractors or operate your business as an independent contractor, this bill has the potential of having serious implications to you and your business.   Please read below and contact your legislators NOW.  Please consider making multiple phone calls and emails so the legislators understand the effects of this bill.

    New legislation has been proposed in Congress that would effectively ban independent contractor classifications under federal labor law. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, H.R. 842, amends the National Labor Relations Act to establish a new definition of employees which expressly eliminates independent contractors in the U.S. The new legislation makes a broad presumption that all workers in the U.S. are employees unless each element of a newly established “ABC” test can be demonstrated. PPAI is opposed to the PRO Act because, if signed into law, it would significantly change how thousands of promotional products companies interact with each other, and it will eliminate jobs in our industry.
    Specifically, the PRO Act would eliminate independent contractor agreements, enforce government control over private employment contracts and significantly broaden risk exposure to joint employer liability.

    The legislation also sets new criteria for determining occupational status as an independent contractor instead of an employee. The proposed new criteria entail a three-pronged test for which each of the requirements must be proven if an independent contractor wants to retain his or her status under federal labor law.

    The House is expected to consider H.R. 842 during the week of March 8, with a possible vote happening by the end of the week.

    Please click here to email and call members of Congress to educate them about why independent contractors in the promotional products industry do not want to be forced to reclassify as employees.


  • March 08, 2021 3:30 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

    The PromoKitchen board established this fund to honor our friend and founding PromoKitchen chef, Tee Hamilton, who lost her battle with cancer in December 2020.

    Tee was a tireless advocate for the creative professional in the promotional products industry, and we are intent on continuing her crusade in this area.

    The Tee Hamilton Creative Scholarship was created to support promotional product industry professionals in their pursuit of creative or business education by paying up to 80% towards courses and conferences.

    We want to reduce the financial barriers associated with participating in continuing education.

    Why does this matter? Because Tee believed that industry professionals who bettered themselves through education could create a strong and lasting legacy for themselves and the industry. 

    Here’s how it works:

    Applications will be accepted between February 22 and March 26, 2021.

    Applicants who are chosen will have up to 80% of the cost of the course or conference paid for.

    The course or conference must be completed or attended before February 2022.

    The recipient of the scholarship will be required to follow up with PromoKitchen after the course is completed or conference is attended, by sharing your experience with the community and how this was able to benefit you in your promotional products career. This could take the form of a podcast or written interview, video, blog, etc

    The winner will be announced at our virtual Spring Fling Mixer on April 8, 2021.

    To apply, head over to

    For questions or more information, please email or

  • March 03, 2021 7:58 AM | Donna-Jean Plante

    The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) officially announced their 2021 recipients of their CAE designations.  Rachel Levin, CAS, SAAGNY President noted, “We are so proud to announce that our very own, brilliant, Executive Director, Donna-Jean Plante, CAE, is one of only 189 nationwide to have recently earned this prestigious designation by passing the December 2020 exam. The CAE is the highest professional credential in the association industry.”  

    To be designated as a Certified Association Executive, an applicant must have experience with nonprofit organization management, complete a minimum of 100 hours of specialized professional development, pass a stringent examination in association management, and pledge to uphold a code of ethics.  To maintain the certification, individuals must undertake ongoing professional development and activities in association and nonprofit management.  More than 4,700 association professionals currently hold the CAE credential.  

    The full press release from the American Society of Association Executives can be viewed by clicking here.

    Ms. Levin further remarked, “Please join us in celebrating DJ and all of her great accomplishments.”

  • February 24, 2021 12:09 PM | Donna-Jean Plante

      Click here to get the latest from SAAGNY.     


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