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We are proud and honored to be located in a small town, like Owatonna, MN.  Veterans Day has such a huge presence in a small town.  Businesses shut down to honor the fallen and their families with special dinners, parades and recognition ceremonies.  Communities join together for an entire day to recognize lives that left this earth too soon, and lives still here because of their bravery and courage.  The website for the US Department of Veterans Affairs (https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/), would like communities to spend the entire month of November celebrating our heroes.  Please comment below and/or on this Facebook post to recognize a friend or loved one.  Let’s show thanks all month long!  Click the link to the VA website to view the calendar of events for November.

Our 2017 Showcase clothes were so fancy, Zack and Kelly decided they should model them.  We were decked out in Storm Creek’s Nadia – Convertible Jacket/Vest.  We received so many compliments about our attire, Zack and Kelly were getting jealous.  Don’t they look great?!  Kate did such a  great job decorating our shirts.  The front has a sparkly gold embroidery for our 20th anniversary logo.  The right sleeves of our T’s have a similar screen print, but include the 2-0, and the bottom left says Corporate Recognition screen printed in shiny white.

 

Check out Kelly’s new outfit!  She is so excited to be styling at the office.  Click the the images to learn more about her trendy, new clothing by Devon & Jones’ Perfect Fit line.  Great for the office, banks, hospitals, or hospitality professionals.  The materials are light enough to keep her cool, but heavy enough to keep her warm on chilly days.  Wouldn’t her blazer look fantastic with an embroidered logo?  Kelly thinks so!  She LOVES her new, glass – silicone insulated water bottle.  She’s able to sport her company logo in style wherever she goes, and stay hydrated all day!

 

   

Our showcase was almost a month ago, but Kelly wants to keep the party going!  We would like to thank the Little Theatre of Owatonna for allowing us to borrow this lovely costume to fit the theme of our 2017 showcase.  In honor of our 20 years in business, we thought it would be classy to throw a 1920’s themed party.  We had old cars etched on our commemorative glasses, beads and ostrich feathers for decoration, and lots of glitz and glam to keep it jazzy!  We had the largest turn out since coordinating these showcases in 2002 – 97 new and existing customers attended!  Thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy days to check out new ways to market your business.  We sincerely appreciate it :D

Meet our newest employees!  Introducing Zack and Kelly.  They are our models and promotional product enthusiasts!  They are dressed in the latest fashions while they go hiking and hunt for morel mushrooms.  They love promotional products so much, they wear logo’d items EVERYWHERE they go!

Kelly:  Storm Creek’s Rachel – waterproof/wind resistant raincoat;  Landway – fleece sweater (one of Kate’s favorites);  she always has a logo’d lanyard;  and today she is even carrying a logo’d poo bag holder for their dog (Screech – named after their best friend).

Zack:  Alphabroder – Duck Brown outdoor, heavy duty jacket;   Alphabroder – fleece full-zip sweatshirt;  Zack is always seen in a logo’d lanyard as well, and you will always catch him with a logo’d pen!

Stay tuned to see where they go next!

 

I don’t mean to rub it in, but I was recently on a ten day vacation.  On an island.  In the Caribbean.  Don’t get too jealous about how I went swimming in the sea for a few hours everyday, slept in until 10a or 11a, caught fresh tuna, and climbed a waterfall.  I wish you could have been there!  I visited Trinidad and Tobago for the first time.  My mom and I spent the whole time in Buccoo, Tobago.  This post isn’t necessarily to tell you about the amazing time I had in perfect weather that fluctuated from 85 at night to 89 during the day.  I’m telling you about the promotional products I took on my vacation.  Each item was used frequently, had a logo on it, and I will be bringing them on future vacations!

Here is my checklist:  neck pillow, nausea relief bands, sunscreen, waterproof cellphone case, neck cooling scarf, breathable T-shirt, pop socket, hand sanitizer, power bank, ear plugs.

The weather was so hot and humid, and air conditioners were rather scarce.  I put the cooling scarf in the freezer for some ice cold relief!  I would not have survived without it.  I started getting headaches from the heat every day around 2 or 3.  Ten minutes after putting the scarf around my neck or head, and I was ready for more Liming!  You may be wondering, what is “liming?”  Liming is an activity involving relaxation, conversation, food and drink.  “To lime,” is what I would call “to chill,” back in Minnesota.

As my mom and I are boarding our first flight, she pulls out a pair of ear buds with the Corporate Recognition logo.  She’s had them for years and says she received them as a promotional mailer.  It just goes to show, promotional products can go full circle sometimes!

 

Here are some vacation pictures :)

 Fresh caught tuna.  I also saw a sail (flying) fish.

This is Grange Beach.  We swam here every day!

This is also from Grange beach.  Just an hour or so before sun down.

This is Nylon Pool and No Man’s Land.  I suggest checking in out.  We saw several sting rays.  The sand is crushed coral.  I’ve never seen anything like it!  I’m also wearing my Storm Creek, mesh t-shirt.  This was a perfect, light-weight, option.  I wore it several times.  I was sun burned badly within the first couple days.  I had to stay covered up and this was breathable enough to keep me cool, but protected from the sun.

Summer is almost over! Sorry to say, but in Minnesota it’s starting to come to an end.  What did you do this summer?  Kate and Matt were lucky enough to take a weekend camping trip.  I usually go every year, but wasn’t able to find the time.  I’m also so picky when it comes to camping!  I like to find a place that is near hiking and/or walking trails, swimming, and kayak/canoeing/tubing.  I need to be able to make or get coffee, too.  I wake up so early when I’m camping!  I’m up almost 2 hours before everyone else.  I’ll usually take my dog for a long walk, which is why I like to be near trails.  If no one is up by 8am, I’ll start being loud on purpose by cleaning up the campsite because I’m lonely and I want someone to start making food.  I also like to pack light and conveniently.  I don’t usually bring things I have to cook because I’m too impatient to wait for charcoal to get hot enough, or start a fire.  I survive on pop tarts, sandwiches, some fruits, and chips.  I have also decided I am too old to sleep on the ground at this point in my life.  I have since discovered cots.  My cot is so comfortable!  I get some good ZZZZ’s when I camp :) .  I have also started bringing a well insulated mug for my drinks.  They really save on ice!  I can make one cup of ice last for almost 3 drinks.  We were recently notified that one of our lines,  Urban Peak, won the Counselor 2017:  Product Design Award for their copper-lined insulated can coolie (admire below).  Let us know where you like to go camping?  What criteria do you have for campgrounds?  Are you brave enough to portage through the Boundary Waters?  Let’s hear your summer camping stories!

Here is some camping fun with Elin :)

We recently learned that when signing a bill, the President will use a different pen for every signature they write.  After signing, they give the pens to individuals who worked really hard on developing the bill.  Click the image below to watch Cross’s brief YouTube commercial detailing this process.  And yes, you can contact Corporate Recognition to place your next pen order :) .

Image courtesy of Cross. Pen:  Calais Matte Black Ballpoint and Fountain Pen Gift Set

Owatonna is full of ways to bring the community together.  Crazy Days is a fun-filled weekend of art, shopping, food, entertainment, and games for the whole family!  Kate Harthan and Cindy Stelter, co-chairwoman of the Crazy Days committee, part of the Owatonna Business Partnership, helped spear head this local event.  Both ladies were pictured in the Owatonna People’s Press, and recognized for making this year’s festivities “revamped, bigger, and better” than previous editions.  This event is very important to our community.  It brings visitors from the surrounding area to our town, gets people out and about on their lunch breaks, and gives visitors already staying in town something to do.  All these people end up putting money back into our community.  Most vendors were local and part of the Chamber of Commerce.  Thank you to everyone who helped make this days extra CRAZY!

http://www.owatonnabusinesspartnership.com/crazy-days

Kate has been working looooonnnnngggg….. really long hours to make this event go smoothly for the community of Owatonna.  In case you’re unfamiliar with Crazy Days, it is a three day event put on by the downtown businesses.  For example, our company sets up a booth on the sidewalk with all our extra inventory we have acquired over the years.  We sell everything for super cheap from clothing to kitchen products.  There is also a parade, group canvas painting, businesses giving product demonstrations, and much more!  This year we are excited to welcome LeAnn Rimes!!  She will be the headliner for the Every Color Matters Concert in the Fight Against Cancer.  “Every Color Matters is a docu-series that focuses on hero recognition, cancer prevention through healthy living, and education.” (https://events.com/r/en_US/tickets/every-color-matters-concert-presenting-leann-rimes-owatonna-july-104733) The concert will be located at the Christian Family Church and tickets are only $30 for general admission.

 Image courtesy of everyCOLORmatters: PRESENTS  LeAnn Rimes in concert.

Don’t forget the Owatonna Sings competition!  Grand prize at the State Competition for Minnesota Sings is $10,000 plus a recording session.  Contestants must be amateur vocalists between the ages of 15 and 25.  Kate and I are bummed that we’re “too old” to compete :( .  We’re excited for our local contestants and can’t wait to see who will represent the Owatonna community on Sept. 24, 2017!

Come check out this yearly event!

Yesterday I managed to meet with someone at all but one location while I was out cold calling on businesses.  The time before, I was lucky to speak briefly with a few people.  Unfortunately, more times than not, the person with whom I needed to speak was not around.  I watched a YouTube video by Gary Vee (or Vaynerchuck) a few weeks ago that had me rethinking my cold call strategy.  Cold calls, via phone or walking into a building unexpectedly, are interruptions.  How do interruptions make you feel?  How do you respond to interruptions?  Think about small interruptions, like radio or TV advertisements.  Your child running in front of the TV and screaming to get your attention while your favorite team is close to scoring a goal.  Your phone ringing while you’re out to lunch with a friend.  Interruptions cause frustration and we respond with irritation.  And for good reason!  Especially if you’re a business owner, or decision maker.  They have to focus on what’s important and they’re usually really busy.  More and more, with Millennials moving into decision making positions, time is important and should be treated with respect.  When you’re cold calling, you’re basically telling that person you have zero respect for their time.  Your time has taken precedence over theirs, and they need to listen to your pitch right now.   Unless the message is more interesting than what’s in front of us, we are going to ignore the interruption or change the channel.  In the promotional products industry, we believe that maximizing your marketing strategy by using all avenues of advertisement will give you the best bang for your buck.  However, we are biased and think you should put more of your advertising dollars in gifts, recognitions and awards.  Our example is simple, why interrupt what your target market is enjoying?  Instead, GIVE them something to enjoy!  As I was rethinking my approach to cold calling, I wanted to incorporate this message while prospecting for new business.  How can I deliver a wanted and enjoyable cold calling experience?  I have decided to not look at it as “cold calling” anymore.  I’m not trying to “prospect” either.  I’m trying to make new friends and see how I can help them with the tools I have, or if they have something I might find useful in return.  Cold calling is necessary to keep new business in my pipeline.  Kate and I were talking, and we think cold calling has gotten a bad reputation.  Some people were trained to do it incorrectly, and neglected to do the research on the company and who they should contact prior to marching in.  We want to change the process for our future customers and provide an enjoyable experience from new lead to closed sale.

 

Photography courtesy of Storm Creek.