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August, 2012

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Sept. 2012
2 Chicago
8-11 Dallas
8-10 Gatlinburg
9-11 Billerica, MA
9-11 Fredricksburg, VA
10-13 New York
11 Morganton, WV
13 Fisherville, VA
14-16 Honolulu
17 Madison, WI
19 Ft. Wayne, IN
20-23 Chicago
24 Billerica, MA
29-Oct.2 Chicago
30 Marlborough, MA
30-Oct. 2 Columbus
30-Oct. 2 Los Angeles

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Are You Ready For "Obamacare"?

In just three months, United States citizens will go to the polls to vote for president, along with Senators who are up for re-election and their representatives in the House. The outcome of the election may make a difference about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka, "Obamacare"), since Republicans have promised to repeal the bill, but we will have to wait until after the first of the year to know whether that will happen. The Supreme Court ruling that the bill is constitutional may make it more difficult to repeal.

In the meantime, there are issues that small businesses need to be aware of, as elements of the bill are being implemented according to a timetable in the statute. There is a great deal of misinformation and lack of information among small business owners, who have other pressing concerns besides pouring over the massive bill that, reportedly, few of those in Congress have even bothered to read.

The National Retail Federation (NFR) has apparently read the bill, however, and their guide to Affordable Care Act Implementation is straight forward and helpful.

For example, is your store subject to the Employer Mandate Penalties? The simple answer: Not unless you have more than 50 full-time employees. Fine print: The ACA administrators will look at your employees and may decide that, because you have several part-time employees, they add up to more than 50 full-time employees. A full-time employee is defined as someone who works 30 hours per week on average. There's a lot more fine print of course, but that's the basic definition.

Determining that you do not have 50 or more full-time employees and therefore are not required to offer coverage may not answer all the questions, however. For example, will coverage in a small business exchange (SHOP) be more affordable than coverage available today? In other words, would you be better off to purchase coverage under the government plan than through private insurance as you do now? Only you will be able to determine that. Will other options even be available after time passes if the government option is cheaper? Will you be at a disadvantage in attracting quality employees if you are not offering affordable coverage?

And what are the "exchanges"? This appears to still be a Wild West, crazy-quilt in the ACA, with a lot of "cans" and "mays" and "will-be-ables" in the language. Individuals and business with less than 100 employees can purchase health insurance coverage through exchanges beginning in 2014. States will establish exchanges for individuals and small businesses (SHOP). The Federal government and even private entities may create exchanges.

There are other court challenges and many details to be worked out. Stay tuned.

Featured Vendors
indicates a CAMEO EZ© web site.

Acacia Creations Since our products debuted in the U.S. in 2007, we've been working overtime to meet demand and we couldn't be happier. That's because at Acacia Creations we operate according to fair trade principles and return a percentage of each sale to our employees in Kenya. That means the more we sell, the more our workers and their families benefit! Also, because our items are made from recycled and reclaimed materials, the more we sell, the more we keep from being thrown away.

Badash Crystal: Our broad selection of mouth blown tabletop and decorative accessories from around the world will surely meet your needs. Every piece is individually and safely boxed. We offer superb quality and value for all your gift giving, bridal and/or personal pleasure.

Best Blue Mountain Coffee the wholesale ordering web site for City of Refuge 100% Jamaica Blue Mountain® Coffee. 100% of the proceeds from your purchase of City of Refuge coffee go to help the City of Refuge Children's Home, enabling a Jamaican child to live and learn the ways of a loving and nurturing family environment.

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. Check back often to see more lines. One Login - Multiple Shopping Carts - Easy Checkout.

Coast Lamp Manufacturing Coast Lamp Mfg., was established and incorporated in the state of Florida in 1955. Now, a North Carolina Corporation since 1975, located in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. We are a family owned and operated company. Our product is UL/ULC listed and approved and made in the USA. Customer satisfaction and a long lasting relationship are our goals.

The Cookbook Company: Any Bitch ("Babe In Total Control Of Herself") Cookbooks is a complete and humorous line of boutique cookbooks that are not only amusing but useful as well.

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

Dr D's for Dogs: Dr. Joseph Demichael is a veterinarian who is devoted to caring for dogs but also raising and breeding dogs. He photographs his dogs and creates clever greeting cards using the photographs. The picture at left is for a birthday card with the caption "May your day be twice as nice! Happy Birthday!

Europa Home decorincluding 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.

Halle Joy is a different type of company, committed not only to designing beautiful products, but to bringing joy to people throughout the world. A portion of the proceeds from every piece we sell goes to support worthy causes around the world.

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.

JTP Wholesale: Monogrammed toilet paper and coasters - The perfect gift for the person who has everything.

Julia Knight: Our artisans in India and Italy breathe life into each individually hand-crafted piece, ready for you to expressively combine them into your own eye-catching-statement-making signature array of bowls and trays, glassware and serving pieces. . . into "Wow!"

Leslie Handpainted Glass: Leslie Hand Painted Glass is Proudly Painting in Portland Oregon USA Specializing in Custom & Regionally Specific Designs - Personalized Wedding & Bridal Parties - Corporate Gifts & Events.

MyQuickPrints.Com system allows the store owner to generate "Live" previews of personalized photos, print the photos on demand in their store, and frame the photos all within minutes. The system provides instant gratification for store customers and big profits to the store owner! With, there are little or no start up costs and no inventory to carry. The store owner simply clicks, prints, and frames. When registering on, use CODE "Retail" for "Type of Business".

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

O3 USA: Founded on principles of creativity, functionality and a funky spirit, O3 USA strives strive to offer products that are unique, stylish, and, most importantly, cool. From kids' backpacks and luggage with integrated coolers, to fun accessories for the family, we hope you find what you are looking for with us here at O3!

Scribbles: "We are fashioned by what we love!" Jewelry, handbags, wallets, scarves and other fun stuff. NEW CAMEO EZ© web site.

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.

Stupell Industries: one of America's premier suppliers of handcrafted decorative accessories for upscale homes and offices. In business for over 30 years, our line includes a wide variety of baby products, kitchen and bathroom plaques, wall hangings, faux windows, picture frames, and other unique decorative objects. We are constantly enlarging and updating our product offering to keep abreast of the latest trends and styles in the fast-paced home decorative market.

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.

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 decor, inspirational signs, and cookbook stands. We offer quality with style, low minimums and fast shipping.

Wellspring makes functional products with fresh designs for companies that sell gifts. Great fun and cute personal accessories designed for the purse, stationery designed for organization and Flip Notes- the best-selling slim notepad consistently ranked by retailers as a top 10 in sell through. Perfect 4th quarter pick up gifts at under $10 retail- a sweet spot with today's consumer. Now with collegiate logos!

MyQuickPrints Banner Ad
When registering on, use CODE "Retail" for "Type of Business".

What Keeps Customers Coming Back?

by Barbara Wold

The best source of future business is a past customer The first and most important reason, of course, is the quality of your product or services and the way your company is run. If your sandwiches are lousy or customers have to wait too long at lunchtime, it won't matter if you have a punch card for your sandwich shop. One of the best ways to cultivate happy, loyal, and long-term customers is to consistently give them an excellent product or service.

But this isn't enough for every company, and even if you have a terrific product or service, you'll need to make special efforts to retain customers. This is particularly true for new and very small businesses. So, consider how you might institute a "loyalty program" to keep customers attached to you.

All loyalty programs have basic attributes:

  • The customer gets a reward — a discount, freebie, upgrade or special service — for being a regular or big customer.
  • There is a way to keep track of the customer's purchases — you can have a sophisticated computer database, a handwritten ledger or a simple punch card.
  • Generally, but not always, the customer gives the company his contact information, which enables the business to keep marketing to and communicating with him.

Some structures of customer loyalty/reward programs:

  • A free reward after multiple purchases: Enticing customers to keep coming back to you by offering them something free after they make a certain number of purchases. Examples: a punch card at a car wash, where you get your 10th car wash free.
  • Buy-ahead discounts: A significant discount or freebie for buying multiple products or services in advance. For example, getting 12 months' membership in a gym for the cost of only 10 when you buy the entire year at once.
  • Membership/clubs: Discounts or rewards for people who agree to sign up to be a member of your "club" and continue to be associated with you. Example: supermarket "clubs" with discounts in return for enabling the supermarket to track your purchases and communicate with you.
  • Upgrades/special services: Many customers want special treatment (or better products) because they see themselves as a valued customer. Examples include an upgrade to first or business class as a reward for achieving a certain number of frequent-flier miles or a hotel room upgrade after a certain number of nights booked. But it could be as simple as giving free conditioning treatments to a regular patron of a hair salon.
  • Discounts after purchase: Discounts given as a reward after a customer makes a purchase, to both encourage future purchases and to thank customers.

For example, giving a client who's just used your catering service a discount to receive free desserts for their next catered event.

From time to time, evaluate the cost of your loyalty/reward program. Are you giving free stuff to customers who would have been buying from you anyway? Are your rewards eroding away your profit margins significantly? If so, adjust the terms and nature of your program.

Don't forget: The longer a customer remains with you and continues to buy, the more profitable the relationship. That's why it pays to reward customers and keep them loyal to you.

"Profit is the result of risks wisely selected."
-- Frederick Barnard Hawley, American economist

Barbara Wold is a street-smart, down-to-earth business speaker, presenting topics from sales and marketing to customer service and tourism. She is an international speaker who has "WOWED" over 850,000 people from all 50 of the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, Venezuela, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and the United Arab Emirates.

Copyright 2012. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold's Retail & Consumer Tips, mail to:

Quick Industry News

New York Exhibitors Receive Awards

New York - August 22, 2012. 16 exhibitors at the New York International Gift Fair received awards during the trade show which ended August 22. The awards were in the areas of Best New Products at the Gourmet Housewares Show, Accent on Design®, and Bloggers' Choice Awards.

The Gourmet Housewares winners and finalists were selected from 87 products.

  • BEST OF SHOW - Joseph Joseph (New York, NY) for its TriScale, an ultra-compact, digital kitchen scale;
  • COOKING - Winner: Key Ingredient (Austin, TX) for its Recipe Reader, a kitchen-safe, electronic recipe resource with access to more than 1.5 million recipes online. Finalist: SPARQ Home (Denver, CO) for its SPARQ Griddle; Finalist: DKB Household USA (Irvine, CA) for its Ken Hom Mini Wok.
  • DINING - Winner: Ginsey Home Solutions (New York, NY) for its Freeform Tray, an elegant place setting that switches to versatile tray by simply picking it up; Finalist: soireehome (Butler, NJ) for its Tilt, sophisticated chilling spheres. Finalist: Rush3 Product Design Studio (Charleston, SC) for its Kebo, one-handed bottle opener.
  • KITCHEN PREPARATION - Winner: MOLECULE-R Flavors Inc. (Montreal, Quebec) for its Cuisine R-EVOLUTION, a molecular gastronomy kit that places the creative cuisine of renowned chefs at a culinary artist's fingertips; Finalist: Bar10der (New York, NY) for its Bar10der, a 10-in-1 bar tool. Finalist: Sagaform (Marlton, NJ) for its Oversized Grater.

The Accent On Design awards were given out on August 22.

  • Best New Product Collection: Caleb Siemon (Santa Ana, CA) for a unique fusion of glass and metalwork
  • Overall Excellence: FLOS USA Inc. (Huntington Station, NY) for its diverse gift collection of LED and standard light fixtures
  • Outstanding Collectives: American Design Club and JOIN DESIGN Seattle (Seattle, WA; Brooklyn, NY) for a successful joint venture to introduce an edited selection of emerging designers focused on innovative and rare gifts seldom seen in other markets.

Also for Accent on Design®, select bloggers from noted design and trend-watching sites selected products designed in Argentina, Japan, New York and Sweden as the most "urgent, odd and delightful design".

  • Heather Clawson, Habitually Chic: MSY Inc. (Tokyo, Japan) for real wood iphone cases. "They are the skins for iphones that are made of wood. I just love the way they make technology look techy."
  • Hollister Hovey, Design House Stockholm Ab, (Stockholm, Sweden) for Rock Chair by Frederik Färg. "Made from four simple cut pieces of wood with a couple round leather disks for pads, this beautiful rocking chair embodies deceptive Scandinavian simplicity."
  • Marisa Marcantonio, Seletti North America, Inc. (Brooklyn, NY) for rock_me. "Seletti's minimalist and modern rocking chair. An updated classic, rock_me loses the bentwood flourishes and cane seat and back of the original 1860 design and trades it for a cool mesh seat outlined in neon in a crisp white finish."
  • Danielle McWilliams, Flos® USA Inc. (Huntington Station, NY) for D'E-Light by Philippe Starck for Flos. "I love multifunctional design. This energy-efficient LED task lamp and charging station is a bloggers dream come true!"
  • Stephanie Murg, UnBeige: CARGA (Buenos Aires, Argentina) for the canvas collection. "Carga adds to its line-up of rugged bags and tech cases with this striking new collection in industrial-grade canvas. With removable leather handles, these bags stand out in a sea of totes for their unique and sustainable construction — by hand, in Buenos Aires, and using a pattern-free process that eliminates waste."


LOS ANGELES, CA (July 12, 2012) — PHR L.A. Mart LLC, a commercial real estate management company, announces the purchase of L.A. Mart® from Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI). Guided by the property management expertise of PHR's principals, L.A. Mart enters its next chapter fueled by a fresh momentum focused on trade and consumer initiatives that strengthen the Mart's showroom business, while fortifying its legacy as the anchor to the West Coast's Gift + Home industry.

With commercial assets throughout Southern California, the corporate parent of PHR L.A. Mart LLC has destination properties representing retail and trade businesses encompassing product design, artisanal manufacturing, art galleries, restaurants, and temporary event and performance venues. Their projects in Los Angeles specialize in developing and growing industrial centers into uniquely creative environments and commerce-driven spaces.

"L.A. Mart is an extraordinary, enduring resource destination with a rich heritage that retailers and designers across the West and around the globe make their must-shop marketplace," said Avo Tavitian, president, PHR LA Mart LLC. "Our vision for L.A. Mart is to invigorate the business by leveraging our success in operating commercial properties that attract buyers and sellers, and applying that know-how to advance L.A. Mart's growth and value. This property has a proud tradition of service to its customers and we are excited to steward the facility toward a new and prosperous era."