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Industry News

United States Northeast Promotional Demand

Hot pockets create business opportunities in the Northeast where sales are up 3% to $3.6 billion.

Despite some challenges, suppliers and distributors in the region say they’re more than holding their own, as the Northeast houses a number of industries that are performing well and helping to drive business. Health care, education and technology continue to lead the pack in terms of promotional product opportunities. Understanding the needs and sometimes unique demands of Northeastern clients can set distributors and suppliers apart and help drive business. Discerning and demanding Northeasterners appreciate and value quick turnaround times, multiple shipping options, onpoint style trends and cutting-edge tech products.

TOP MARKETS

The Northeast has benefi ted from improved job markets in Boston and New York City. A Wells Fargo report

cited New York’s emerging tech sector as helping boost employment in the city. The report cited technology and

health care as being largely responsible for stimulating job growth in Boston, in particular in software development, big data, cloud computing, life sciences and medical device manufacturers.

“New York is increasingly becoming a high tech city. Incubators as well as more established technology companies are moving to New York because of the pool of talent here,” says Larry Cohen, president of New York City-based Axis Promotions (asi/128263). “These companies bring other businesses along with them; for example, real estate has exploded,” he says. Axis derives some 85% of its business from the

Northeast, in particular, Boston, New York City and White Plains, NY. “There are many corporate headquar-

ters in this area, we have exposure to a lot of different businesses,” he says.

“Axis is well-positioned in areas where there has been lots of business growth,” says Cohen. “We are on a

great trajectory. Our business has increased every year.” Company sales in 2014 were up 9% over 2013,

according to Cohen. Among the company’s diverse client roster are the fi nancial and technology industries,

fashion, media and advertising, travel and hospitality. Boston’s collegiate market is a major draw for

companies looking to hire good talent. “With over 100 colleges and universities in and around Boston,

including elite schools like Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there is an amazing talent pool

for companies to choose from,” says Rob Haughey, VP of sales at Boston-based Stran Promotional Solutions

(asi/337725). He notes that this makes the city attractive to startup ventures, and many top companies in the technology and biotechnology areas. “We are seeing good demand from financial,

technology, health-care, education and retail clients,” he says. While seasonality can impact the types of

products Northeast clients prefer, design and functionality prevail.“Our clients like that we offer one-stop solutions,including product, print, point-of-sale, e-commerce stores, kitting, fulfillment and awards programs,”

says Haughey. “While they may come to us for one need, most clients quickly learn that our suite of

services and broad range of capabilities help them to be more successful.”

For one of its large program clients, a manufacturing company looking to incentivize its various divisions

to achieve goals, Stran bundled a variety of tech products together to create “tech crates.”

The crates were fi lled with branded Bluetooth speakers, power chargers, headphones, a fl at-screen TV and

other relevant tech accessories, says Haughey. Each crate was worth $5,000-$10,000, and contained about

four dozen items. Employees within the winning departments would each pick a number and, based on that number, par-

ticipate in a Yankee Swap. The tech crate was then delivered, via white-glove service, and items were dis-

tributed to those departments. Employees would win either a gift from the crate or points that could be used

to purchase items from the online company store. “When all the products were bundled together, it was

a cool and interactive kit,” says Haughey. “There was something in it that everyone could relate to"