2018 Top 50 Distributors: HALO Branded Solutions Makes a Big Leap
Each year, Promo Marketing compiles the Top 50 promotional products distributors into one comprehensive list. For a peek behind the curtain at how some of those tremendously successful companies work, we asked a few of them to share their thoughts on the promo industry, their plans for the future, what it takes to make the become (and stay) a top distributor, and more. Here, we profiled HALO Branded Solutions, No. 2 on the 2018 Top 50 Distributors list.
At $415 million in sales, HALO Branded Solutions made a large leap in 2018, jumping from No. 4 in 2017 to No. 2 this year. Jim D. Stutz, executive vice president for HALO Branded Solutions, spoke to us about business challenges, consolidation and the company’s 2017 accomplishments.
Stutz admitted that distributors face a number of new challenges today, including technology investments, pricing pressures, supply chain safety and compliance, and employee acquisition and retention.
“What is unique to our business model is we are a solution for many distributors facing these pressures,” he said. “We are able to meet them head-on with scale. Instead of having to invest significant dollars in a new ERP system, a distributor can leverage our investment. Instead of building out a sourcing team, they can leverage ours.”
Stutz also had some observations regarding the promotional products industry’s recent string of mergers and acquisitions—some of which HALO Branded Solutions made itself.
“Our industry is large, vibrant and made up of many great companies,” he said. “When there is value to be had through consolidation, companies who are prepared to capitalize on it, will. Companies who are able to leverage scale through technology investments and sourcing initiatives, and gain addition efficiencies through consolidation, will succeed. It is important to note acquiring is the easy part. Integrating systems, processes and cultures is what truly allows one plus one to equal three, four and five.”
Notable accomplishments for HALO Branded Solutions last year included a number of important hires (Stutz called them “wonderful” people), many employees celebrating decades with the company, and the aforementioned acquisitions. But, when tasked to pick one top accomplishment for 2017, Stutz picked the company’s new headquarters in Sterling, Ill.
“Our ability to recommit to the Sterling/Rock Falls community, which is home to so many of our team, the opportunity to give Jack Mewhirter (our retired president) something to do in his retirement, and to establish a state-of-the-art workplace for our nearly 400 employees proved to be a pretty cool accomplishment, and one we are very proud of,” he said.
Stutz closed by letting us in on his favorite part of the promotional products industry: the energy and opportunity it offers.
“I have a very unique vantage point where I get to work with virtually hundreds of entrepreneurial sales professionals every day,” he said. “I get to experience their energy and excitement in their efforts to help meet the branding and promotional product needs of their clients.”
View the full 2018 Top 50 Distributors list here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list. For more in this top distributors profiles series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all six interviews.