Greatest Companies To Work For: 2019


In April 2019, 263,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. workforce while unemployment fell to 3.6 percent—the lowest level since 1969. As this strong economy—indicated by low employment, steady growth and little inflation—continues to make headlines, companies in the promotional products industry are on pace to more record-breaking sales.

Last month, PPB reported 2018 distributor sales up 6.3 percent to $24.7 billion—and preliminary check-ins with a sampling of distributor companies indicate sales will continue strong through end of 2019. Making those forecasts a reality is highly dependent on attracting and retaining the most-qualified employees and to do that, companies must create an environment that attracts the best and brightest. According to this year’s PPB’s Greatest Companies To Work For survey results, getting there begins at the top.

Great companies start with great leadership. One of the themes that permeated throughout the responses to this year’s open-ended question (How would you describe your workplace to a friend?) often referenced specifics about the company’s top leader. That person’s management style, level of engagement and their ability to create a positive company culture appears to have the most powerful impact on how employees value their companies, how productive they choose to be and how long they plan to stay there.

The annual competition to determine the greatest companies to work for is open to all PPAI member companies with at least five employees. It uses employee surveys to score the nominated companies in five areas: benefits, resources, culture, leadership and direction.

This year, a total of 117 companies were nominated by their employees and 91 companies provided a list of employee emails and took part in the survey portion of the competition. The top 60, determined solely by the best employee ratings on the 15-question survey, earned a coveted place on this year’s roster. Of these, more than half are repeat winners; 11 made our list for the third time, 26 have made it twice. PPB thanks all member companies who participated this year and congratulates the following on their shining achievement.

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(In alphabetical order by size)


(Five to nine employees)

1338Tryon
Blue Dog Merch
Red Hills Group
The IdeaBox - Powered by Proforma


(10-25 employees)

Artina Promotional Products
Blink Marketing, Inc.
Brandinc US, Inc.
Business Innovations
Citadel Brands/AWDis
City Apparel
Competitive Edge, LLC
commonsku
Concepts & Associates, Inc.
DistributorCentral, LLC
Identify Yourself
KG Specialties, LLC
Mac Mannes, Inc.
Show Your Logo, Inc.
SOCK 101
Specialty Incentives, Inc.
Swag Promo, LLC
The Book Company
Tic Toc
Toddy Gear
US Flash & Technologies
Walker-Clay, Inc.
Ward Promotional Marketing Solutions, Inc.


(26-75 employees)

Albrecht & Co.
Axis Promotions
BLUE GENERATION
Brand Fuel, Inc.
City Paper Company
Concord Marketing Solutions
Crystal D
Facilisgroup
Fairytale Brownies
Goldstar
iCoStore
Incentive Concepts
Pop! Promos
Powerstick.com
Signet, Inc.
Spectrum Designs
Talbot Marketing
TPS Promotions & Incentives


(More than 75 employees)

AIA Corporation
Ariel Premium Supply, Inc.
ASL USA Corp
BAMKO
Boundless
BrandVia Alliance, Inc.
Bristol ID Technologies
Evans Manufacturing, Inc.
Geiger
Gemline
iClick
Orbus Exhibit & Display Group
OrderMyGear
Quality Logo Products, Inc.
Trademarks Promotional Products, L.P.

PPB asked several of the leaders behind the Greatest Companies To Work For about how they are differentiating their companies as a top employer in today's crowded marketplace. Click the highlighted names to learn more about their answers.

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Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Heather Comerford
Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
Founded: 2014
Employees: 6
Web address: 1338tryon.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, retirement plan, paid time off, stress therapy llama/alpaca parties, pet-friendly office, showers and bike racks, employee education
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It is so nice to have a job at a company that makes me look forward to going to work every day. 1338Tryon believes in empowering their employees with the authority to solve customer challenges.”

 

Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Ryan Small
Headquarters: Nashville, Tennessee
Founded: 1998
Employees: 9
Web address: bluedogmerch.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance benefits, bonus, paid time off, employee of the month program
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working for Blue Dog Merch has been a wonderful experience. I love the flexibility of working from home, but still feel very included in the BDM team. There is a high level of trust and a willingness to allow employees to work to their strengths. There are great benefits, and I feel like I am working for a company that truly cares about their employees and customers.”

Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Jim Mendenhall
Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
Founded: 2017
Employees: 9
Web address: redhillsgrp.com
Benefits/perks: Insurance, paid time off, holiday parties, dog-friendly workplace, free parking
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “You are given the flexibility to be as successful as you want to be. The work is gratifying because you become real partners with your customers and share in their success as well.”

Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Kelly Stone
Headquarters: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Founded: 2013
Employees: 8
Web address: sms-theideabox.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I appreciate my position on the IdeaBox team for many reasons—mostly for the opportunity to work with Kelly Stone. She’s an inspiration for women in this business.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Matina Zenios
Headquarters: Powell, Ohio
Founded: 1967
Employees: 21
Web address: artina.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off, Culture Club with teambuilding activities, recognition/incentive program, employee referral program, convertible sit/stand desks, wellness program with biometric screenings and wellness coach, onsite gym
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It’s a family work environment. I genuinely enjoy coming to work every day. I enjoy and respect the people I work with and work for. I greatly appreciate the transition to more flexibility that I have seen over the past few years. It’s nice to see management adapt to what their employees need to maintain a good work/life balance.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executives: Carolina Junghans and Daniel Gardner
Headquarters: Franklin, Tennessee
Founded: 2002
Employees: 21
Web address: blinkmarketing.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option,󠄀 insurance benefits, 401(k),󠄀 bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, maternity leave, paternity leave, poker chip plan (employee reward program), company volunteer days, quarterly company outings
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Blink Marketing places extreme focus on ensuring its staff is well cared for and that directly translates into customers who are well cared for too. The commitment to individual development and support is like no other organization I have been a part of. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be a member of an amazing team and grateful for the ongoing support provided by this company.”

Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Tad Webster
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
Founded: 2013
Employees: 15
Web address: brandinc.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “The old adage, never hire your friends or relatives, doesn’t make sense to me. I’ve never worked for a relative, but I do work for a company of like-minded individuals who have become close friends, and that feels great. When a company is headed by good and positive people with high integrity, as is the case with Brandinc, they hire skilled people who share the same values and work ethic. And, as a result of that leadership, we all enjoy a commonality, a kinship, a sense of ‘family’ among co-workers. The most enriching thing to me personally is to collaborate and share success with people I like and enjoy being around.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Alf Rhea
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
Founded: 1996
Employees: 17
Web address: bi-ww.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance benefits, profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, loyalty bonus, quarterly community volunteer opportunities, 30-day personal analysis to determine communication style
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working for Business Innovations is the best work environment that I have ever experienced. I feel valued, and the support here for work and family life is amazing.”

 
Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Greg Brown
Headquarters: Charlotte, North Carolina
Founded: 2017
Employees: 10
Web address: citadelbrands.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting, insurance, bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “We have flexible hours and I’m free to manage the way I feel is necessary for my employees. We have an open-door policy and I genuinely like the company and people I work with every day.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Andrea Kramer
Headquarters: Findlay, Ohio
Founded: 2001
Employees: 10
Web address: CityApparel.net
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing bonus, paid time off, 40 hours PTO for community service, team community service projects, two additional vacation days for those who participate in the United Way fundraiser, team outings, free drinks and snacks, employer contribution to nonprofits of associate’s choice, pet-friendly, baby-friendly, uniform program and cool swag
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I love my job. I am given a lot of different responsibilities and perform many different functions; it allows me to keep moving and keep it interesting. My favorite thing about my job though isn’t so much the job itself, but what the company allows me to be in the world. When I’m dead and gone I want my life to have been a joy and a bright spot in the lives of the children I encounter through my charitable work. I feel this company is not only supportive of that, but extremely encouraging of it.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Mary Jo Tomasini, MAS+
Headquarters: Stevensville, Michigan
Founded: 1993
Employees: 21
Web address: competitive-edge.net
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), paid time off, Friday drink cart, summer hours, fun committee events, birthday celebrations, amazing view of Lake Michigan
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “The leadership at Competitive Edge is helping me to become the best version of myself.”


Category: Business Services
Top Executives: Catherine and Mark Graham
Headquarters: Toronto, Ontario
Founded: 2011
Employees: 18
Web address: commonsku.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting, insurance, bonus, paid time off, half-day Fridays before long weekends in the summer, office closed between Christmas and New Year’s, well-stocked snack drawer and beer fridge, office pup
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I work with and for the absolute most inspiring people on the planet. They have made me love this industry in a way I didn’t think was possible. I work with colleagues who treat this as if it were their own business that they love, protect and nurture every day. There are no egos, no ‘that’s not my job’ or any other attitude. We don’t always agree but we are always honest, listened to and respected.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Tim Hennessy, Sr.
Headquarters: Birmingham, Alabama
Founded: 1983
Employees: 18
Web address: conceptsusa.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Concepts is a fantastic place to work, both professionally and personally. They adhere to a standard of excellence in every way, and make sure customers, vendors and employees are treated with the utmost respect, care and concern.”


Category: Business Services
Top Executive: Tom Mertz
Headquarters: Gardner, Kansas
Founded: 1999
Employees: 18
Web address: distributorcentral.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “DistributorCentral is at the forefront of innovating and advancing technology to improve the promotional products industry. While the improvements are focused on enhanced experiences for distributors, suppliers and end users, that mindset also applies to DC employees. It’s extremely rewarding to work for a company that values your input and wants you to succeed. Everyone here is passionate about what they do, and that passion is contagious. We love what we do and we’re having fun doing it.”  

 

 
Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Alex LeFevre
Headquarters: Kitty Hawk, North Carolina
Founded: 2002
Employees: 13
Web address: identifyyourself.biz
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “The management staff and fellow employees have a very good working relationship with each other. Everyone has their specific job to do to make the company run smoothly, but we all pitch in wherever the extra help is needed.” 


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Kyle Gibson
Headquarters: Portland, Oregon
Founded: 1993
Employees: 10
Web address: kgspecialties.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, bonus, paid time off, vacation home to borrow, catered lunches
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “KG Specialties is one of the best companies that I have worked for. I’ve worked for places where the ‘team’ atmosphere is just a front— but working here you know you have a solid group of people to support you and whatever project you’re working on. As someone coming up in the industry, this is absolutely invaluable.”

 
Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Chris Huebner
Headquarters: Bethesda, Maryland
Founded: 1957
Employees: 15       
Web address: macmannes.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, 401(k), profit sharing, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It’s open and encouraging. Our owner, Chris Huebner, is honest and approachable. From starting in the mail room in the ’90s to sole ownership—impressive! He instills us with the confidence and guidance needed to be successful—a real innovator and marketing marvel.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Don Forsell
Headquarters: Oswego, Illinois
Founded: 1999
Employees: 20
Web address: showyourlogo.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, fun free events such as cooking classes, escape room parties, “beer Fridays”
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I was able to cross off all my wants in a company when I was interviewed for my job, so it was an easy decision to come work here. They truly care if you are comfortable and have all you need to do your best work. Don, the president of the company, goes out of his way to make you feel appreciated on a daily basis.”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Kelly Yarborough
Headquarters: Kansas City, Missouri
Founded: 2012
Employees: 10
Web address: sock101.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, bonus, dog-friendly office, fully-stocked snack room, company outings, paid company trips if specific targets are met
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working at Sock 101 has been nothing short of amazing. The people I work with have turned into family and I truly do love coming to work each day. My boss makes me feel appreciated, included and valued—how often do you hear that about the CEO of a company? There are days that the CEO will give us off, but you can guarantee that at least three of us still come to the office. We all love working for someone who appreciates his associates like family.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Drew Davis, CAS
Headquarters: Denver, Colorado
Founded: 1981
Employees:17
Web address: specialtyinc.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off, short- and long-term disability paid for by the company
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I had a choice of companies to work for, and I selected Specialty Incentives because of their people. I would describe them as true professionals with rock-solid values and a common work ethic. There is a supportive team environment allowing each of us to contribute our special skills. All doors are open here—and there’s fun on the other side. Love that!”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Jim Owen
Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
Founded: 2012
Employees: 14
Web address: Orderswag.net
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off, bi-weekly massages, free fitness membership, discount tickets, one day off for volunteering
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Swag is a wonderful place to work. They show appreciation to all their employees and make them feel that their contribution is not only important, but essential. One of the best places I have ever worked!”


Category: Supplier
Executive: Doug Greenhut,owner and president; Roni S. Wright, MAS, vice president
Headquarters: Delray Beach, Florida
Founded: 1997
Employees:  17
Web address: thebookco.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), tuition reimbursement, paid time off, individualized benefits including free personal travel, plus lunches, gift cards, parties and special events
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I am the luckiest person ever to have this awesome job. The owner is very comfortable letting every employee do what they need to do to get a job done—no micromanagement here. If results are not met, the comment is ‘what can we do to make your job more efficient and how can I help?’ There is no beratement or insulting comments. This is why we all succeed. Time off is at your discretion as there is no vacation policy. Just do your job and take what you need. All employees get along incredibly well even sales vs. production, which is a miracle. Every year I think, ‘When is the other shoe going to drop?’ It’s been seven years now and there are no dropped shoes. Dang, I am lucky!"



Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Paul Gittemeier
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Founded: 1974
Employees: 16
Web address: tictoc.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible spending, job sharing, telecommuting, insurance, 401(k), tuition reimbursement, paid time off, summer flex Fridays, employee referral award, extended holiday closing
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It’s the greatest environment to work in. I feel confident when completing my work and feel comfortable when being creative—and I get to bring my dog to work.”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Todd Gabel
Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
Founded: 2010
Employees: 25
Web address: toddypromo.com
Benefits/perks: Telecommuting option, insurance, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Toddy Gear is professional, focused and fun. We have a team that is collaborative, creative and incredibly supportive of one another. Being as small as we are, we all depend on each other to get the job done. The culture is positive and fun and provides a great work/life balance.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Gabe Gerhardt
Location: Orange County, California
Founded: 2008
Employees: 11
Web address: usflash.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “US Flash is a place where you feel you are an important part of the company’s success and appreciated for the work you do.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: William L. Clay, CAS
Headquarters: Hanson, Massachusetts
Founded: 1956
Employees: 14
Web address: walker-clay.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k) plan, bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Best. Company. Ever. Of course, I appreciate the flexible schedule options and ability to work remotely, as well as our generous benefits package, but more important are those intangibles that define our company culture. I have always felt empowered to make decisions and authorized to do what is right for our clients. Our working environment is second to none; I genuinely enjoy my coworkers—it’s the type of family environment everyone dreams of.”



Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Laura Ward
Headquarters: Modesto, California
Founded: 2001
Employees: 14
Web address: WardPromotional.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I am so blessed to work for Ward Promotional Marketing. I have excelled in my growth 100 percent due to Jay and Laura Ward. From boss, to mentor, to friend to family, I know that my future will be with Ward Promotional. It is amazing to see how hard this team works, and how much harder they play. I am so proud to be a part of their team and I take so much pride in the work that I do.”

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Corporate social responsibility has caught on with companies of all types and sizes for one simple reason: people want to help causes they believe in. Among the
key benefits provided by many of this year’s winning companies are team community service projects with paid time off for employees to perform service. Some companies also provide additional employee incentives in appreciation for those who volunteer. City Apparel goes a step further by making a company contribution to each employee’s nonprofit of choice. The distributor also gives employees 40 hours of paid time off per year to perform community service.

As CSR feeds the soul, other types of wellness programs fuel the body and are gaining ground with savvy industry companies. Many of this year’s winners listed company-paid gym memberships, onsite exercise programs and a variety of relaxation programs among their employee benefits. Geiger’s extensive wellness program includes a weight support group, health coach program, gym and onsite farmer's market. Ariel Premium delivers fruit to every department on Tuesdays along with an onsite fitness center and yoga classes, a company-sponsored smoking cessation program, free flu shots and painting classes to relax. Swag Promo
gives its employees bi-weekly massages, but Brand Fuel may offer the ultimate relaxation: four hours of complete silence every day. When the music goes off in the offices, employees are asked not to interact with each other, so they have uninterrupted time to focus on whatever needs to get done. They are permitted to respond to emails and phone calls if they choose but many opt for an “out of office” message so they can concentrate. Ah! The sound of silence. That sounds really nice.

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Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Suzette Albrecht
Headquarters: Milford, Ohio
Founded: 1999
Employees: 52
Web address: albrechtco.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working for Albrecht & Co. is a unique, rewarding, challenging and fun experience. Coming to work every day is easy knowing you’re working alongside the best in the promo industry. The people here are truly what makes the difference. The attention to detail and commitment to quality are what separate this organization from being just ‘good’ to being truly a great place to work. Of course, this organization would not be what it is today without the unwavering dedication and hard work of our inspiring leaders, Fred and Suzette Albrecht. They continue to show us what is possible when people are happy at their place of work.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Larry Cohen, CAS
Headquarters: New York, New York
Founded: 1991
Employees: 70
Web address: axispromo.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, summer Fridays, monthly happy hours, two office parties every year, peer-to-peer recognition program
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I aligned with Axis Promotions because they are on the leading edge of the promo industry. There is a strong emphasis on product safety and I really like that because keeping people safe is important. I love the company culture of information sharing. Axis attracts super creative, efficient and positive people. There is the freedom to create and succeed in your own way. I highly recommend this company to like-minded individuals.” 


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Eric Rubin
Headquarters: Long Island City, New York
Founded: 1944
Employees: 42
Web address: BlueGeneration.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, continuing education, team building events
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I was applying at many jobs before I started working here but no one gave me a chance.  It was in a stage in my life where I was having a hard time and Blue Generation gave me the chance I needed and saved my life. Everyone here, especially Eric, the owner, is always there for me and really believes in me and always reminds me how much of a family we are. I have never worked for a company like this one and I pray I will be here for a long time.”



Category: Distributor
Top Executives: Danny Rosin, CAS, and Robert Fiveash
Headquarters: Morrisville, North Carolina
Founded: 1998
Employees: 36
Web address: brandfuel.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, four hours of silence, concert tickets, recognition programming, PTO for charitable volunteer work, free branded gear
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “We have next to no turnover and over a third of our staff has been with us for 11-plus years. I think that says a lot about this place. People who work here have integrity; they care and are dedicated, fair, kind, optimistic, creative, fun, team-oriented, community-focused and respectful. We’re also continuously striving for a healthy work/life balance. I love working here.”  

 
Category: Distributor
Top Executive:
Brad Friedman
Headquarters: Birmingham, Alabama
Founded: 1897
Employees: 33
Web address: citypapercompany.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, Friday $100 putt putt, free snacks and drinks
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I’m not a Friedman, but they sure make me feel like part of the family. The culture at City Paper is incredible. The support from our leaders and staff allow me to work harder and smarter at my job. We are set up for success and encouraged along every step of the way.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Kirk Graves
Headquarters: Glendale Heights, Illinois
Founded: 1993
Employees: 57
Web address: concordms.com
Benefits/ perks: Telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, health savings accounts, health reimbursement account for those who elect the high-deductible PPO plan, company match up to three percent, employee referral bonus program, paid holidays, active social events calendar managed by an employee committee
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Concord is a great place to work. They care about you as a person rather than just the tasks you perform. Upper management knows everyone by name and regularly stops by to check in with you or maybe even take a couple people out to lunch to hear what is going on in their world. They are in touch with everything that is happening from the bottom up. They invest in employees for skill development and continued education, and there is also a priority on promoting from within.”

 

Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Chuck Dahlgren
Headquarters: St. Paul, Minnesota
Founded: 1993
Employees: 70
Web address: www.crystal-d.com
Benefits/perks: Insurance, 401(k) with company match, tuition reimbursement, professional development, paid time off, paid holidays, bereavement pay, paid time off for volunteering, child’s school-related activities, kids’ first day of school, organ or bone marrow donation, jury duty, witness leave, and voting, and free coffee
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “This is the best job I have ever had. Not only am I recognized for what I do regularly, but the people I work with are amazing, and there is no ‘blame game’ when something goes wrong; everyone pulls together to find a solution. Also, my input is always taken into consideration, and I feel like I can actually grow in this company.”


Category: Business Services
Top Executive: Chuck Fandos, CAS
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri
Founded: 2004
Employees: 31
Web address: facilisgroup.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I have such a good time at work. My ideas are valued by my boss and our company just knows how to treat its employees. The biggest thing for me is right from the start the leadership team has wanted to get to know me as a person and not just know about what I am doing within my role at the company. There is no major wall separating leadership from the rest of the employees. I feel supported and have seen myself grow as a person within my time here.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executives: Eileen Spitalny and David Kravetz
Headquarters: Phoenix, Arizona
Founded: 1992
Employees: 40
Web address: browniepromos.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, paid volunteer hours with nonprofit partner KaBOOM!, quiet/relaxation room with massage chairs, anniversary bonus, monthly catered lunches, 60 percent brownie gift discount, six free brownies per day
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Fairytale Brownies makes employees feel like family the moment they walk through the doors. David and Eileen take pride in the company and the employees who work here. They invest in us and our family—they don’t just talk the talk, they walk the walk. They are both approachable and follow through with everything.”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Howard Cubberly
Headquarters: San Diego, California
Founded: 1972
Employees: 46
Web address: GoldstarPens.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “We have an awesome team at Goldstar. Everyone here is totally committed to supporting our customers and helping fellow team members, and we have a lot of fun.”

 

 

 

 

Category: Distributor
Top Executive:
Tom Meissner
Headquarters: Tempe, Arizona
Founded: 2002
Employees: 27
Web address: icostore.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I couldn’t ask for a better place to work. They understand that we are not robots—we are people and we have lives and families outside of work. iCoStore is always supportive and flexible about hours. Everyone at iCoStore cares about their own personal performance. We strive to achieve greatness daily and, as a team working together, and with everyone doing their part, we succeed. I really love working here.” 



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Joe Reinberg
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri
Founded: 1986
Employees: 41
Web address: IncentiveConcepts.com
Benefits/perks: Insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, teambuilding events, continuing education, wellness program, gym reimbursement, flexible spending account
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Incentive Concepts’ motto is ‘Delivering the Best Better.’ This motto is reflected in not only our brands and the service we give our customers, but internally as well. Joe Reinberg, our president, is a pleasure to work for. He is very approachable, easygoing and has a great sense of humor.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Erin Reilly
Headquarters: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Founded: 2012
Employees: 35
Web address: poppromos.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, summer Fridays, year-round company-funded employee events
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I have never been prouder to work for a company than I am to work at Pop! Promos. Every employee here has a voice, and the collection of those voices creates amazing things every single day. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Nigel Harris
Headquarters: Ottawa, Ontario
Founded: 2009
Employees: 26
Web address: powerstick.com/main
Benefits/perks: Insurance, 401(k), bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working at PowerStick is like being one of the elves in Santa’s workshop. The atmosphere is electric; the enthusiasm palpable. Employees feel it and customers sense it. PowerStick truly is a magical place.”



Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Elizabeth Tate
Headquarters: Memphis, Tennessee
Founded: 1976
Employees: 46
Web address: gosignet.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), paid time off, Cheese Day every Tuesday, monthly birthday celebrations and gifts, holiday banquet and gifts, Milo (a husky mix) is chief morale officer and visits the office often
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Signet is a great company to work for because they appreciate and value their employees. There is a family atmosphere here that is very welcoming.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Patrick Bardsley
Headquarters: Port Washington, New York
Founded: 2011
Employees: 40
Web address: spectrumdesigns.org
Benefits/perks: 401(k), paid time off, monthly mindfulness sessions with a mindfulness specialist, health insurance stipend, in-house training, employee assistance program, monthly breakfast
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Spectrum Designs is the most unique company I’ve ever worked for. The fact that we are all working towards a common goal of providing employment to those with autism gives us all the feeling that we are making the world a better place. What could be better than that?”}


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Steve Levschuk
Headquarters: London, Ontario
Founded: 1886
Employees: 51
Web address: talbot-promo.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, retirement plan, profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I love going to work every day. The people I work with are amazing; everyone is trusted to perform their role to the best of their ability. Being a part of Talbot—with the people, leadership, opportunities and perks—is a bonus. Once you are in at Talbot, as long as you are dedicated and work hard towards your goals, you have a career, not just a job.”  


Category: Distributor
Top Executives: Aaron Moscoe and Andrew Rotenberg
Headquarters: Markham, Ontario
Founded: 1988
Employees: 47
Web address: tpscan.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, dog-friendly office, paid birthday off, summer hours, $30 per month for mental/physical wellness activities
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It’s an awesome team/family environment. The two principals genuinely care about their employees and are always there to support them. That culture has filtered down to the rest of the agency. They strive to do their very best for clients and employees, and there’s a strong sense of ethics and respect of staff.”

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Health insurance, retirement benefits and paid time off may be the most common and expected employee benefits—and they can quickly increase the dollar value of an employee’s overall package—but the ones employees really want to talk about are those that make work more fun such as fully-stocked snack rooms, taco truck visits, dog-friendly offices and the like. Here’s a quick look at some of the more unusual and most-loved employee benefits being doled out at industry companies named on this year’s list.

Valentine’s secret cupid exchange, after-dark Easter egg hunt, March Madness Pop-A-Shot challenge.



Employees who reach their five-year anniversary receive $2,000 to use toward a vacation and five free vacation days that don’t count toward their PTO. At the six-year mark, they get 16 total paid days off as well as one volunteer day. After eight years, they receive two premium event tickets and a hotel stay anywhere they choose.


Say ‘Cheese!’ Every Tuesday is Cheese Day—a tradition started in the accounting department a few years ago that caught on big. Employees take turns bringing in cheese and crackers. Sometimes they bring in special cheeses and other savory treats too—because, who doesn’t love cheese?


The distributor offers a peer-to-peer, company-funded recognition program that allows employees to award each other points that can be converted to make personal online purchases.


Every employee gets a $100 net bonus for every year they stay with the company. Recently, employee Scott Terrell was awarded $3,000 for completing 30 years with the company.


The exec team gives Blink-branded poker chips to employees when they do something awesome outside of their normal job description and to recognize any above-and-beyond achievements. Employees cash them in for prizes and gift cards on quarterly chip redemption days.


Six free brownies every day.

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Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Matt Gresge
Location:  Neenah, Wisconsin
Founded: 1980
Employees: 108
Web address: aiacommunity.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off (unlimited for certain positions), pet insurance, cellphone reimbursement (certain roles), ‘dress for your day’ dress code, wellness benefits, employee assistance program
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It is a very different place to work. You are welcomed by everyone, made to feel valued and appreciated. It is great to wake up each morning and want to come to work.”   


Category: Supplier
Top Executives: Yuhling Lu and Tai Lin
Headquarters: St. Louis, Missouri
Founded: 1993
Employees: 205
Web address: ArielPremium.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule and telecommuting option (for some positions) insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, monthly farmer's market at discounted prices, Tutti Frutti Tuesdays (fruit is delivered to every department); onsite yoga classes and fitness center, company-sponsored smoking cessation and wellness programs, onsite English-As-A-Second-Language classes
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Ariel provides a safe and unique work environment where I feel appreciated for my contributions and also encouraged to take the ball and run with it on certain projects and initiatives. Ariel truly cares about each associate and strives to bring joy and fun into the workplace as a reward for hard work.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Alec Pettigrew
Headquarters: U.S.: Miami, Florida; global: Hong Kong
Founded: 2006
Employees: 250
Web address: aslglobal.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, bonus, paid time off,
paternity leave, birthday leave
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “ASL is a special company to work for. Despite having people spread across many locations, we manage to maintain a strong team spirit. We are growing very quickly which also makes it a very exciting business to be in and offers even more opportunity for career development and the chance to work directly with some of the biggest consumer brands in the world.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Philip Koosed

Headquarters: Los Angeles, California
Founded: 1999
Employees: 255
Web address: bamko.net
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off, charitable giving match
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I love this company so much; they really have become a second family. They are so supportive and wonderful to me as an employee—always finding ways to encourage and enrich my development and knowledge. But they are also supportive of me as a person and have been there in ways unexpected for a company of this size. The leadership of this company is strong, decisive and innovative but collaborative and accessible at the same time. They make it very easy to feel confident in our direction as a company and so optimistic about my future with them.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Henrik Johansson
Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Founded: 2005
Employees: 110
Web address: boundlessnetwork.com
Benefits/perks:󠄀 Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance benefits, 401(k), paid time off, dog-friendly offices, gym membership discount, community volunteering opportunities, happy hours and healthy snacks
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Boundless has a great culture fueled by its great people. At only 14 years old and still growing fast, there are lots of opportunities to collaborate and take on interesting projects outside of your core area. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, unless you’re on the other side looking over at Boundless.”   

 



Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Jim Childers
Headquarters: San Jose, California
Founded: 2003
Employees: 177
Web address: brandvia.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, paid volunteer hours, free swag, paid holidays, flexible spending, corporate discount program
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “BrandVia Alliance is comprised of hard-working professionals who enthusiastically extend themselves to help not only their clients but also to aid their colleagues without hesitation. This is not a competitive environment for sales people—we work independently, while operating in unison as a corporation to function at our fullest potential.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Keith Yeates
Headquarters: Lima, New York
Founded: 1975
Employees: 100
Web address: bristolid.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Bristol ID is truly a great place to work. I finally have a work-life balance and a company that appreciates their employees.”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Alan Vaught
Headquarters: Garden Grove, California
Founded: 1986
Employees: 600
Web address: evans-mfg.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), tuition reimbursement, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “From day one I was welcomed with a fun and happy atmosphere. Evans has an amazing environment that fosters my best work. I love working here.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Jo-an Lantz, MAS
Headquarters: Lewiston, Maine
Founded: 1878
Employees: 427
Web address: geiger.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting, insurance, retirement plan, profit sharing, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, bereavement pay, local discounts, flexible spending account, employee assistance program, paid holidays, lactation room, nursing services, safety shoe subsidy, extensive
wellness program
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Geiger is by far the best company I’ve worked for. They truly care for their employees and give back to the community. Their benefits are great, work-life balance is the best I’ve experienced and the effort they put behind employee wellness is second to none.”



Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Jonathan Isaacson
Headquarters: Lawrence, Massachusetts
Founded: 1958
Employees: 450
Web address: gemline.com
Benefits/perks: Ongoing training and development, insurance, 401(k), tuition reimbursement, paid time off, employee assistance program, onsite cafeteria, baby bonus, community giving time off, fitness subsidy, tenure sabbatical leave, recognition of veterans and citizenship, free parking
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Gemline is a wonderful company to be part of. They strive to be better every day—not only treating their employees with respect but also their customers the same way. There is a great culture throughout the whole company that sets it apart from others. I truly love being part of such a unique and outstanding company.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Jeff Hall
Headquarters: Seattle, Washington


Founded: 2001
Employees: 139
Web address: iclick.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, paid time off, dog-friendly office, three-week paid sabbatical after five years of employment
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “It has a very positive and uplifting environment where creativity and outside-the-box thinking are encouraged, recognized and appreciated.”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Giles Douglas
Headquarters: Woodridge, Illinois
Founded: 2001
Employees: 450
Web address: orbus.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, community and employee events, free coffee and filtered water, company lunches and social gatherings, anniversary celebrations, free parking, free corporate clothing and promo items, more than 10 paid holidays
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “I have grown significantly both professionally and personally while working at this company. My confidence level has increased due to the guidance I’ve received from both my peers and manager. As a whole, the company provides a feeling of security due to the transparency the leadership provides about the company’s overall health.”

 
Category: Business Services
Top Executive: Dave Dutch
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas
Founded: 2008
Employees: 96
Web address: ordermygear.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, insurance, 401(k), bonus, paid time off, weekly breakfast and lunch, offsite events such as movie day, Texas Rangers game, State Fair of Texas, Christmas party, company happy hours, fully-stocked kitchen, paid paternity/
maternity leave, access to an online financial wellness tool, corporate rate gym membership, paid parking
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Best job I’ve ever had. There’s always something challenging to work on and the company allows its employees to think freely, figure things out and run with it!”


Category: Supplier
Top Executive: Bret Bonnet
Headquarters: Aurora, Illinois
Founded: 2003
Employees: 120
Web address: qualitylogoproducts.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off, fully-stocked snack room, game room, exclusive movie screenings, 50 percent discount on local gym membership, tenure-based vacation program in addition to PTO that includes hotel, cash and event tickets at various levels
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “Working at Quality Logo Products is exciting and really fulfilling. The communication is great, the company owners are involved, motivated and full of contagious enthusiasm, and everyone is here to do their best work. All employees are treated with great respect and gratitude for their work and ideas. I get awesome feedback from my peers and management that helps me grow and become better at what I do.”


Category: Distributor
Top Executive: Audrey Devenport         
Headquarters: Houston, Texas
Founded: 1979
Employees: 97
Web address: tmarks.com
Benefits/perks: Flexible schedule, job sharing, telecommuting option, insurance, 401(k), bonus, tuition reimbursement, paid time off
Why employees would recommend it to a friend: “TPS is a great place to work—the management team is very supportive and innovative, and all of the employees are friendly and eager to help. I honestly plan to stay with TPS for as long as they’ll have me; it is probably the best place to work in the industry (and I’ve been employed by both suppliers and distributors).” 

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Tina Berres Filipski is editor of PPB.

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Comments (1)
Marvin Baida, MAS
June 3, 2019
I know about a lot of these companies, but I picked Fairytale Brownies, if you know me...those 6 free brownies won me over! Great article, that tells the world why it’s a great industry to work in!
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