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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Ventriloquists and Creepy Dummies

Filed under: ASI Shows, Travel


Hey there, Joan here blogging from the California leg of the Advantages Roadshow. I was delighted to learn that a video would be shown on the magic bus tour from Newport Beach to Ontario, CA. However, when I learned it was a comedy involving a ventriloquist, I became instantly creeped out.

Does anyone remember the book/movie Magic? It was about a ventriloquist and his evil, jealous dummy that ends up killing people. I read that as teenager and it stayed with me. Anyway, it’s a strange talent, but the comedian, Jeff Dunham, turned out to be really funny. Thanks to Tina from Quickpoint for making the trip go faster with that amusing video.

So, with all the seismic activity happening on Wall Street and Washington D.C., I decided to chat with folks at the show on their thoughts and predictions on this latest financial debacle. The general mood was somewhat shaky, but certainly not panic. In fact, some took a pragmatic view of the whole situation. Barry Hermanson from Aunt Beth’s Cookie Keepers says that in a way the industry can use the situation to its advantage to “shake out the people that don’t belong in the business in the first place.”

Bernie Trowbridge, VP of Redline, says that many users are now buying for their top 10 best customers rather than their top 100. “Our lower-end items are doing the best now. Umbrella sales, which were our fastest-growing segment is now down.” David Johnson, national sales manager at American Calendar, found a silver lining in the financial cloud. He says in the past, many buyers purchased their calendars from Europe, “but with the weaker American dollar, it’s been driving people back to buy domestically.” Johnson feels the next six months will be bad. “I just can’t wait until the election is over – no matter who wins,” he says.

Speaking of the election, there seemed to be no clear-cut favorite – neither candidate is blowing the socks off anyone. A few attendees said they were leaning towards McCain, while one woman said she thinks “he’s out of touch with the average American.” She says she’s not thrilled with Obama, but feels he understands people better, however, she said he made a mistake in not choosing Hillary as a running mate. Another woman said she wished Oprah had run. I was thinking with Lance Armstrong and Brett Favre would make good candidates for president and VP. They obviously need something to do, and their tenacity to stay in the game is admirable.

On a happier note, distributors were pleased with their finds at this show. Kitty Mikesell of Hippo Custom Imprinting was looking for specific items for a clubhouse grand opening at a golf course. “I wanted something besides golf balls and the suppliers were helpful in offering their ideas for this program,” she says. “I was also able to find great youthful giveaways for a program I’m doing for members of a chamber of commerce.”

Kathy Swanson of Proforma Graphic Source says she found the show “small, but good. I found the education session helpful as well.” Nikki Coulas of Lee Wayne Corp. was also pleased with the education session. The 15-minute education segments that the “suppliers presented were wonderful.” Coulas says sales have been steady, and she’s taking a wait and see approach to the future. “My sales will be okay. It’s as much as I put into it. If I’m lazy, I just won’t eat as much. I’m not overly optimistic for the future, but if it stays the same, I’ll be fine.”


The ever-smiling Daniel Townes checks in two of the 116 attendees at the Roadshow in Ontario, CA.


Roadshow guru Nick DiNicola has supplier Tina Van of Quickpoint pick the lucky distributor to win a $25 gas card. Kefang Xu from Lantos Ltd. looks on.


Stacie Livingston of Fields Mfg. and Teddy Scott of AZX Sport are two of a select group of road warriors who have attended all 18 Roadshows.


Anna Ramos VP of sales for Berney Karp, shows off her handy traveler cup which features a teabag strainer. (Michele, you may be interested in this.)


Dave Johnson of American Calendar says a distributor gave his company the idea for the sudoku puzzle book that is selling well.


Steve Saltzman of UM Imports (left) and former University of Idaho football player Jason Grindall from Graphco Line strike a pose. Saltzman admits to being a total ham.


1 Comment

  1. dollar Says:

    what is cash? :)

    Friday May 8, 2009

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