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April, 2011

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May 2010
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In this Issue:

"Made In America" Series Features Toy Manufacturer

Channel Craft featured on ABC's World News with Diane SawyerIn ABC News' "Made in America" series on "World News With Diane Sawyer" reporters have lamented the fact that even at the Smithsonian Institution, the gift shop has mostly items made elsewhere. This prompted the people at Channel Craft, a toy manufacturer in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, to email World News that they still make toys in the USA.

As a result, ABC sent correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi to the Channel Craft factory to interview Dean Helfer, founder, and others regarding the toys they make locally and the resulting segment was aired on World News Tuesday, April 19.

A Channel Craft employee makes train whistles Channel Craft has been manufacturing authentic American toys, games and puzzles that are "Quality Crafted" in the U.S.A. for over 25 years. The traditional toys are produced by skilled craftsmen and women to ensure aesthetic beauty, durability and great play value.

Channel Craft has become the preeminent purveyor of historically significant Toys, Games and Puzzles to complement museums, parks and attractions. The company produces a broad selection of educational and entertaining Nautical, Historical, Nature and Science related products. It's what they call "Edu-Tainment".

Founder Dean Helfer gives ABC Reporter Sharyn Alfonsi a tour of the factory Channel Craft began as a one-man operation back in 1983 from the back of a step van / traveling wood shop, when president and founder Dean Helfer, Jr. drove from craft shows to folk festivals peddling his hand-crafted wooden products. He would arrive at a craft show the evening before and set up his traveling wood shop for the next morning ready to sand and sell his products that were finished right before the customer's very eyes. The craft circuit opened new avenues and provided the necessary cash flow to put together a true manufacturing operation.

Channel Craft currently occupies three buildings (Manufacturing, Assembly and Shipping/Receiving) and continues to hand craft Toys, Games and Puzzles right here in the U.S.A.

For more "Made In USA" manufacturers, see past "Made in USA" issues of Gift and Home Retailer News in the archive. In October we will be spotlighting "Made in USA" once again.

Featured Vendors in GiftsWholesale.Com
indicates a CAMEO EZ© web site.

Aspen Bay Candles: It’s not hard to see why Aspen Bay Candles are simply better. Our candles are poured with a clean burning soy wax blend and use recycled materials wherever possible. We hand-pour all of our products in our factory in Mississippi. The result is a line of premium candles with quality you can see and most importantly smell.

Badash Crystal: Our 24% hand-cut lead crystal is produced in the finest factories in Europe by the same artisans that manufacture for Mikasa, Waterford, Lenox, and Sasaki. Every piece is individually and safely gift boxed. We offer superb quality and value for all your gift giving and/or personal pleasure.

Brownlow Gifts: Brownlow produces a full line of inspirational gifts for every occasion. You will find useful and attractive home decor gifts for the kitchen, bedrooms, study and all other rooms in the house. Brownlow is well known for gourmet products, journals, gifted paper items, photo albums, photo frames, decorative sentiment plaques, a variety of stationery, many different ceramic gifts as well as a large assortment of inspirational gift books. Most products are in coordinating themes that retailers can purchase in eye-catching countertopdisplay collections.

Calypso Studios is a Fashion Accessory & Gift Company that creates products that encompass a relaxed and vibrant lifestyle. We are constantly moving forward and challenging ourselves with new designs and accessories, creating beautiful pieces that everyone can enjoy. We are excited to bring more color and sparkle to any wardrobe in an array of new designs for the gift industry, including our new and extremely popular Comfort Crosses and Wrap Bracelets. Visit us online today at to explore all of our new 2011 product! CAMEO EZ© member stores can now log into a site one time and place orders from several manufacturers. This is a newly introduced site, so check back often to see more lines. One Login – Multiple Shopping Carts – Easy Checkout.

Divinity Boutique is a gift company that is focused on trendy and fun gifts that feature inspirational verse and themes.

Don Mark Mi Pet Dancing Speaker - “THE HIT OF THE PARTY” These adorable Puppies and Kittens have a built-in speaker that plays music from your iPod / MP3 player or most any other music source. Our soft synthetic fur pets will dance to your music or press the left paw and just use the Mi Pet in speaker mode only. The arms are posable and the dance feature will automatically turn off after an hour or so to conserve battery life. Comes with one audio connection cable and uses 3 “AA” batteries (not included) plus features a 4.5v DC power jack for use without batteries (Adapter plug not included). MiPets come in four breeds and are beautifully gift boxed. Each pet measures approximately 12” tall.

Elegant Baby recognizes that today’s babies are stylish, and is committed to providing baby gifts featuring the very best design, quality, craftsmanship and tradition anywhere.

Europa Home decor including glass, candleholders and candles for garden, lodge, awards, gourmet food, sale items and more.

Gina B. Designs is an award-winning greeting card, gift and stationery products company featuring exceptional art and design. With an array of styles, variety of products and outstanding customer service, Gina B. Designs has "something for everyone."  All products are proudly made in the U.S.A.

Green with a Twist is a California based company that has been redefining the "green" tote by adding their own stylish twist. Bold colors and gorgeous designs combine with natural heavy cotton canvas and jute for stunning totes that can be found at vacation resorts, all types of gift stores, boutiques, museums, spas, and garden shops. Get ready for summer sales with our low minimums. View all of our products online and Tote Us Around!

The Heeney Company is a wholesale manufacturer and importer of floral and Christmas products. The company distributes, imports and or manufactures floral and Christmas arrangements, silk flowers, foliages and plants, dried materials, ribbons, candles and decorative accessories.

Hook Line Greetings offers the world's first patent-pending "Gift-in-Greet" Fishing Lure Cards. The company's unique and clever greeting cards contain an authentic hand-tied fishing lure as the "gift" that can be taken out for immediate fun and enjoyment. Just "release" the fishing lure from the card, tie on a line and go fish!

Highland Graphics: a leader in functional gift with decorative items for gift giving and kitchen. From our topselling Absorbastone coasters, to our decorative bamboo cutting boards, everything we manufacture is made in the USA. Our high quality plus competitive pricing lets our customers make higher margins. We feature licensed art, official collegiate products and have a full range of custom capabilities with low minimums.

Natural Life: Fashionable and fun treasures to share or keep! Whether you’re shopping for friends, family, baby or yourself, Natural Life has the perfect gift for you.

Nicole Brayden Gifts a bright and trendy collection of stationary and home decor products. Lots of fun colors and designs offered. Introducing new and exciting "Purse Pad" stationary assortments as well as the trendy Cheeky Chic collection.

Puzzle Pen The Puzzle Pen is the only erasable, retractable and refillable pen on the market. This product is a great, new break-thru for puzzlers. If your store has customers that play Crossword, Sudoku, KenKen, Kakuro, Magic Square, Acrostic, or any other word or number puzzle, this unique new Puzzle Pen will be a great hit in your store.

SailorBags: Real sailcloth bags and accessories at great price points. Classic, nautical styling has timeless appeal for men, women and children. Can be personalized with embroidery to make great gifts.

Saltbox is a Manhattan-based design studio known for its signature creations in canvas. Regularly featured in magazines such as Oprah, Self, People and Brides, the Saltbox collection is renowned for its alluring prints and colors and is well-loved for its sturdy construction and heavy weight, water resistant canvas.

Shade Tree Greetings' "Actual Pictures" are recognized as one of the best-selling greeting card lines in the industry. Nostalgic photographs and clever, funny verses make these cards a success. Go to our website to browse over 300 styles. GREAT introductory programs and free fixtures.

snoozies!® are not socks and they're not slippers - sort of a crossover between the two and that's why we call them "foot coverings"! snoozies!® are made with a brushed fleece exterior in colorful & fun printed patterns and then lined with a soft Sherpa fleece inside.

Spring Street is proud to offer the finest assortment of personal, home, and office accessories. Our extensive product lines are all theme oriented, from baby to bride and beyond. All of our gift items are hand epoxy enameled and adorned with faux jewel encrusted motifs. Many of our designs are inspired from the famed Soho district of New York City where the very real Spring Street is located.

Sunbelt Marketing Group , Inc. Licensed functional and decorative giftware for the home and tailored for the men's market, i.e. (clocks, signs, coat/key racks, salt and pepper shakers, bottle openers, shelves, picture frames, games key chains and more). Licenses include Coca-Cola, General Motors, Pepsi-Cola, Farmall Tractors, Shelby and the Shelby Ford Mustang and Dodge. Product mediums include wood, polyresin, and glass and mixed mediums.

Sunset Vista Designs Inc.: offers you extra margin opportunities, and sells thru at retail. They offer innovative designs, in proven products, with space saving merchandising solutions, and attractive package deals that all add value to the quality products we offer. Many say this is the “best ever” line of innovative gift, garden, and home décor.

Tripar International Inc.: Tripar International is your source for both displays and decorative accessories. Our extensive product line includes a wide assortment of easels, risers, ornament stands, plate racks, mirrors, jewelry displays, and unique display pieces. We are also an excellent source for wine accessories, wall décor, inspirational signs, and cookbook stands. We offer quality with style, low minimums and fast shipping.

Wellspring brings art and organization to everyday life with products in fashion, organization, and home. Check out quick ship items for the holidays that retail under $10- Flip Notes, great lightweight pill boxes and compacts, Auto Notes, lens cleaners and more! Also beautiful curios, scarves, wristlets, and pillows. All great gifts to ship now.

YMC Toys provides a variety of over 5,000 Toys, Novelty, Die Cast Modes, General Merchandise, Home/Gift Items, Licensed Plush, and Party Favors. With the support of over 50 factories all across China, YMC has supported business since 1988, with quality products at the lowest price. Quality is the foundation of our products and all we do and represent. It's reflected in the way we do business. It's demonstrated in the way we treat individuals.

Quick Industry News


Americasmart Creates All-Encompassing Retail Destination With Fall Market Run

ATLANTA, GA – AmericasMart Atlanta will present one powerful buying destination with unmatched retailer opportunities when it premieres the Atlanta Apparel Market together with the Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market and Atlanta Gourmet Market this fall. Collectively, these markets will produce one all-encompassing shopping environment for all retailers taking place October 13-17, 2011 (Gift & Home Furnishings Market: Oct. 14-16).

“We have a dynamic offering of products in our Apparel markets and in our Gift & Home Furnishings markets, and we continue to see key categories evolve and cross over,” says Jeffrey L. Portman, Sr., president and COO of AmericasMart. “Hosting these markets together is an ideal opportunity to provide more buying power to our retailers, and more retailers to our exhibitors. It ultimately enhances the overall Market experience.”

Both the Apparel and Gift & Home Furnishings markets will operate as normal with respect to show hours and exhibitor locations.

Gourmet Housewares Show Integration & Category Enhancements Are Highlights

WHITE PLAINS, NY - April 15, 2011 - Implementation of Phase Two of a three-year strategic reorganization of the New York International Gift Fair® (NYIGF®) begins in August 2011 with integration of the Gourmet Housewares Show into NYIGF, the addition of new product-focused “neighborhoods” in several divisions and continued refinement of existing categories. A full schedule of seminars, special events, displays and promotions are among other highlights of the summer market, which runs August 13-18, 2011, at New York City’s Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Piers 92 and 94.

“Through ‘Focus Forward 2013,’ NYIGF continues to transform and strategically reorganize to become the defining marketplace for fashion-forward, design-driven home, gift and lifestyle resources,” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. “The first time integration of The Gourmet Housewares Show will exponentially increase and complement the breadth and depth of resources for buyers, and a series of enhancements to other divisions will dramatically facilitate sourcing and shopping for buyers.”

World Market Center Las Vegas Announces Expansion of Design & Living at Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market
More than 30 Trend-Setting Companies Already Signed Up for Design-Inspired Showcase

LAS VEGAS - April 19, 2011 — World Market Center Las Vegas announces the expansion and relocation of its Design & Living show section at Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market.

The showcase, growing from its current location in Building B to the fully-dedicated fourth floor of Building C, will feature a seamless integration of fashion-forward furnishings - including indoor and outdoor, home décor, home textiles and distinctive gift.

“Design & Living has grown and evolved since its inception and this expansion provides new space to nurture future development,” said Robert Maricich, president and CEO of World Market Center Las Vegas. “With the growth of the design sector at the recent market - 33 percent more designers over a year ago - along with a surge of new retailers in attendance, this design-centric floor showcases incredibly artful companies for buyers looking for truly unique resources.”


Nautical Goes Beyond the Sea With SailorBags
Sailcloth bag and gear company offers top nautical finds for spring

Rochester, NY – April 12, 2011 – At Sailor Bags, with warmer temperatures come new trends, and nothing says spring like iconic nautical-inspired fashions. New variations on this classic, century old style continue to make waves from the runway to the resort. Some “must have” nautical finds for the season include:

  • Sailcloth handbags: The Small Sailcloth Zipper Purse ($39) from SailorBags makes a nautical-chic accessory for carrying sunglasses and other items to the pool or on a walk along the waterfront.
  • Tabletop: The By the Sea Tabletop Collection ($18-$60) from Dune Road Designs brings out the beach and water lover in all of us. Dress up a bottle of sparkling wine or water with a nautical wine bag.
  • Home accessories: LookInTheAttic’s pewter starfish or braided ropes handpulls and knobs (starting at $7.99) can affordably transform a boring coffee table into a cherished antique. Incorporate a relaxed beach vibe with nautical pillows, curtains, furniture, accessories and lantern lighting.
  • Pet clothing for the “Salty Dog”: The Sailor Day Dog Dress ($31.75) by Marilyn Muttro. Accessorize with the Sailor Bandana Collar.
  • Seafaring Style: Red Ribbon Nautical Bracelet from JCPenney. For the little sailors, visit Etsy for handmade choices such as the Bamboo Nautical Knit Baby Hat.

“Our new sailcloth products for spring fit into any fashion cycle – classic colors, zig-zag stitching, and sailcloth material make them timeless,” said Anne Zimmer, president, SailorBags. “Our customers rely on practical, functional and reliable gear they can use on and off the water—this is a ‘must have’ that won’t go out of style.”

Glitter Holiday Cards

Plymouth, MN - April 15, 2011 - Gina B Designs introduces a new line of glitter embellished Holiday Greeting Cards.  Holidays include Christmas, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and Halloween. Themes range from traditional to trendy.  SRP: Box of 10 $11.   All Gina B. products are made in the U.S.A.

Retail Sales Better In March Than Last Year

As gasoline prices rise steadily, retail sales were surprisingly robust during March. Obviously gasoline retail sales were up, but even removing gasoline, the restaurant segment was up 1%, even though it is especially sensitive to gasoline prices, since higher prices makes it less likely people will drive to a restaurant.

The U.S. Census Bureau released the following:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $389.3 billion, an increase of 0.4 percent (±0.5%)* from the previous month, and 7.1 percent (±0.7%) above March 2010. Total sales for the January through March 2011 period were up 8.1 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago. The January to February 2011 percent change was revised from +1.0 percent (±0.5%) to +1.1 percent (±0.2%). Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from February 2011, and 7.3 percent (±0.7%) above last year. (source).

"In January, we saw food and gas increases nibble at consumers spending power (the most important contributor to U.S. GDP). But in February, more gas hikes didn't seem to faze buyers much," says Neal Razi, a "Value Investor" (source). "Excluding autos, [March sales were] up slightly higher than the consensus 0.8%. Taking out autos and gas gives a 0.6%. So everything increased, and that's good."

Many retail chains, such as Costco Wholesale Corp., Macy's Inc. and Limited Brands Inc., reported good gains for the month. Others, including Target Corp., J.C. Penney Co. and Kohl's Corp., posted declines in same-store sales from a year earlier, but the drops were less than analysts projected. (source).