Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Promo Depot Wants to Get Your Name out There; the Company Designs and Distributes Corporate Promotional Items

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Promo Depot Wants to Get Your Name out There; the Company Designs and Distributes Corporate Promotional Items

Article excerpt

Byline: DIANA MIDDLETON

Mike Sims hopes you get some soup on your shirt.

That may be because the Campbell's Soup Co. is one of the large corporate clients of Promo Depot, a Jacksonville company that designs and distributes promotional items emblazoned with corporate logos.

The point is for companies to catch the eye of a customer with something more tangible than typical advertising, said Sims, the company's president. (His wife, Dea Sims, is the founder.)

Apparel, such as polo and golf shirts, accounts for 25 percent of the business. But the rest of the company's promotional products include the usual logo-covered pens and lanyards. But the company's Baymeadows showroom is crammed with 7,000 other items bearing recognizable likenesses, logos and slogans, from a custom-made plush tuna for Starkist and golf towels for Jacksonville University to a bottle of water splashed with a photo of Donald Trump. All are items that are given to employees or customers as marketing promotions, and must be purchased in bulk. Orders range from $500 to $600,000, depending on the company's size and advertising budget.

"Nothing here is off the shelf," Sims said. "You can't just come in here and pick out one pen."

That was often confusing when the company's headquarters were located in a Beach Boulevard shopping center several years ago when customers would wander in to purchase single items. That's why the company chose its current location, nestled between office parks, to cater to the corporate community. The company also opened a sales office in Bentonville, Ark. - home to mega retailer Wal-Mart.

"All of our largest clients are doing business with Wal-Mart," he said. "We're there to support them."

The company's revenue for 2006 was 15 percent higher than the previous year, Sims said. With that sort of regular growth, Sims says he expects the company to reach $30 million in yearly revenue within five years. …

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