ARA - Awards and Recognition Association - Why Join?

    Today's blog post is about the ARA. What is it and why are we members?  What are the benefits?  And why should it matter to our customers?  I hope to answer these questions and more!  The Awards and Recognition Association (ARA) is the trade group for the trophy and awards industry, with 4000 members worldwide.  The ARA is:

    Awards professionals who can offer expert advice in designing recognition programs and provide quality awards and recognition products to consumers (That’s us!)

    Manufacturers and suppliers that provide products, technology and equipment to awards retailers.

    Many companies with a common purpose: to promote the public awareness of the use and benefits of quality recognition products and to educate its members in the areas of business skills and ethics, technical competence, product knowledge and marketing.

    Membership Benefits

    The ARA publishes a monthly newsletter, called the 'Recognition Review', has an informative and helpful website, provides technical training, and has a ‘Member to Member’ forum where awards business owners across the country can connect and share information.

    The ARA also advocates for the awards industry as a whole.  But the biggest advantage to membership is free attendance to the annual ARA International Awards Market in Las Vegas. Jeff, Tom, Anne and I are headed to this event at the end of the month.

    The Main Event - ARA Trade Show

    What is so great about the ARA Show?  Our team visits the trade show exhibits to find new products for our website and showroom.  We make a list of product lines that need refreshing, along with engraving equipment or parts that need replacing.  Then we scout the show floor looking for new items that fill these needs.  For example, this year we will be looking for teacher awards, mid-price fantasy football trophies, and clocks made in the USA.

    We also enjoy networking with our suppliers.  Most are at the show, and it’s great to visit with them face-to-face.  We also like meeting other trophy & award shop owners across the country.  We belong to an industry group called ‘Recognition Roundtable’ where awards retailers share ideas and help each other in their businesses.  Even though they are our competition, our philosophy is working together and sharing ideas to boost the industry as a whole helps us all.

    The last reason we like the Vegas ARA event is because of the recognition the ARA gives to its members.  Many awards are distributed at the Gala at the end of the trade show, and it’s an honor to receive recognition from our peers.  In 2010, Trophies2Go received the ARA ‘Website of the Year’, and in 2012 Issaquah Trophy received the ‘Large Retailer of the Year’ award.  The ARA also gives scholarships to students across the country and recognizes a premiere college athlete with their Sportsmanship Award.

    We value our membership in the Awards and Recognition Association and are grateful for the good work this group does to help promote and grow the Awards and Recognition Industry.  We look forward to seeing all of our friends in Vegas!

    Cheers! Jessica

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