PPAI is joining with the Promotional Products Association Of The Mid-South (PPAMS) to kick off this year’s Promotional Products Work! Week on Friday, May 11, in Shelbyville, Tennessee, also known as “The Pencil City.” Billed as the official launch for the industry’s national awareness week, May 14-18, the event is being organized by PPAMS, PPAI and the Shelbyville-Bedford County Chamber of Commerce.

Local, state and national leaders will gather in Shelbyville for a factory tour at supplier Shepenco (PPAI 114083), luncheon and official ribbon cutting. Promotional products businesses across North America will join in the awareness campaign by hosting special events, partnering with local businesses, and volunteering with and donating to neighborhood nonprofits and schools.

For almost a century, Shelbyville was the hub of wood-cased pencil manufacturing in the United States. In 1991, the World’s Longest Pencil was produced in Shelbyville. Although Shepenco is the only remaining pencil manufacturer, the city of 21,000 is still home to familiar names in writing instruments: Goldstar, Musgrave, Sanford and Shelbyville Pencil.

“PPAI is honored to join with PPAMS to kick off the sixth annual Promotional Products Work! Week in ‘The Pencil City,’ says Paul Bellantone, CAE, PPAI president and CEO. “We applaud Shelbyville’s rich history and salute all of the promotional products pioneers and companies in cities all over America.”

During Promotional Products Work! Week, the $23.3 billion promotional products industry, with its more than 40,500 businesses—96 percent of which are small businesses—and more than 500,000 industry professionals, will work to create awareness of the value promotional products deliver to advertisers and marketers, as well as the positive impact promotional products businesses have on the U.S. economy, job creation and community enrichment. In Tennessee, specifically, 828 promotional products companies employ 11,385 people, and 98 percent of those companies are small businesses. Resellers are responsible for $295.4 million in sales revenue each year, while manufacturers sell $78.7 million from the Volunteer State.

Promotional Products Work! Week and PPAI’s Get In Touch! campaign—the industry's first-of-its-kind, multi-year, multi-million-dollar branding initiative targeted directly to promotional products buyers—are designed to increase awareness and drive traffic to regional and industry participant websites, educate buyers and drive business referrals to promotional products consultants.

PPAI encourages all industry companies to step up to support industry awareness during Promotional Products Work! Week and throughout the year with the Get In Touch! campaign. More information and planning tools are available at PPAI.org/PPWWeek.

Doing something for Promotional Products Work! Week? Share your story and pictures with News Editor James Khattak at jamesk@ppai.org for possible inclusion in PPB Newslink and PPB magazine.