Inside PPAI: PPAI Hits 16,000-Member Mark During The PPAI Expo


During the busy and bustling PPAI Expo in Las Vegas, the Association reached—and exceeded—the 16,000-member mark, indicating it is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. Just two years ago, PPAI celebrated 15,000 members. 

“The continued success and growth of the promotional product industry is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our PPAI team, the Board of Directors and the hard-working volunteers,” says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “We always like to say that promotional products work, and this milestone is just another in a long list of examples that exemplify the power of that statement. We are proud and honored to champion the cause for our industry, and we look forward to reaching new heights in 2020 and beyond.”

Distributor E The Center of Marketing (PPAI 782146, D1) in Alamonte Springs, Florida, was identified as the 16,000th member. Principal Eric Bernhardt joined onsite to attend the industry’s largest and longest-running trade show and Top 60 Show according to Trade Show Executive magazine’s list of the Gold 100. 

“This is my first year at the PPAI show,” says Bernhardt. “I was at another industry show and asked a friend about the Expo, and they told me how much bigger it was than anything else in the industry. I’ve discovered so many exhibitors here that I’ve never seen before! I liked what I saw and what PPAI offers, and I decided to become a member. For me, it’s all about making my business more efficient. It’s the key.”

Bernhardt started his company in 2011 and has today grown it to 17 employees. Its largest clients are health care, nonprofit and faith-based organizations, and the distributor offers full agency services—graphic design, creative services and web. Bernhardt says, “The promo world changed our business. I’m excited about it.”

He adds, “A lot of this industry is relationships. If you have a foot in the door or someone who can open the door, it makes a real difference. I’ve been blessed to have some good relationships. We serve a big hospital chain in Florida, the second-largest employer in Florida after Disney. We’re positioned in a place where they call us and say ‘hey, we need help creatively come sit at the brainstorming session,’ and I’m sitting there with all the decision makers brainstorming on their event or their campaign and I am absolutely placing promotional items.” 

Brittany David, MAS, immediate past-chair of the PPAI Board, says, “Our industry continues to be ahead of the curve because it is the only advertising medium where people actually say ‘thank you,’ and we’re all extremely excited to see our membership continue to rise. We are working hard through messaging and advertising to ensure our industry is thought of as a strong medium and not just a hidden treasure.”

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James Khattak is news editor of PPB.

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