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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016 6 years ago

Promoter in chief

Everybody loves free pens.

Everybody loves free pens.

For 25 years, companies and nonprofits in Southwest Florida have turned to Lucy and Jack Costa for promotional incentives. Their Cape Coral-based company, appropriately named Promotional Incentives, supplies everything from simple key rings to elaborate corporate gifts.

Amazingly, pens with company logos remain a favorite. Costa says one customer recently ordered 50,000.

“We're getting more paperless and yet we're still selling zillions of pens,” Costa marvels. “I think the world could stop pen production for a full year and there would still be enough pens in the world.”

People grab pens, sometimes by the handful if companies are not careful. At trade shows, for example, Costa advises displaying a few pens at a time inside a container to discourage people who want to grab a fistful.

Physicians and other well-compensated professionals are just as prone to grabbing pens as the rest of the population. “It doesn't matter your economic and educational level,” Costa says.

And senior expos are notorious hunting grounds for pen grabbers. “They're collecting for their grandkids and neighbors,” Costa says.

Pens aside, there are more memorable gifts to hand out to valued customers and employees. Drinkware is one popular category, says Costa, especially products from Venice-based drinkware manufacturer Tervis. So-called “athleisure” apparel with moisture-wicking fabrics also sells well and so, too, does anything branded by companies such as Nike, Apple and Bose. Yeti coolers are another product in high demand.

But the hottest thing going is technology accessories, says Costa. In particular, anything related to cell phones is desirable, including power banks, chargers and wireless speakers.

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