International Art Materials Association

    eNews:  August 28, 2019

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Technology Can Be Fatal

by Tom Shay

When as a writer, I visit with people selling Point of Sale Systems I frequently find myself struggling to keep up with the conversation.
IT is information technology; AI is artificial intelligence; and IoT is Internet of things. I did figure out VAR (Value Added Reseller) but past that I am lost. During conference calls I find I need to write down the acronyms they use and take to a friend who owns a technology-focused business and ask her to “translate” what they are saying.

In retail, in addition to getting lost in the rapid change of technology, it appears too many of us try to adopt technology because of the fear of being left behind. I often think we need to look at this rapid change as being our advantage and not our challenge.

For example, a friend owns a local pharmacy. They have one location; hours that are not competitive with a chain store pharmacy; and a total of three aisles of “over the counter” pharmacy items. What they do that the chain store pharmacy won’t or can’t is special order items for you, get to know you on a first name basis, call to confirm your auto refill prescriptions, and deliver your purchase. Unfortunately, I recently noticed that they installed a new phone system so when you call you get a voice recording with a series of options. All but the last option leads to a series of additional options. You’ve all experienced this this type of phone system and now this is just like the chain store pharmacy.

I couldn’t help but wondering, what if one of the people in the pharmacy I had gotten to know actually answered the phone and said hello. This experience would be unique in that an employee actually engaged the customer in a one-on-one conversation. How many businesses still do that?

Similarly, a friend of mine owns and operates a liquor store. He likes to say it’s a technology business. Instead of regular face-to-face training for his staff he requires each person to download an app to their phone that allows the owner to send messages about new products; products being moved in the store; and allow employees to converse with each other. As the individuals controlling the app, the owners can see which of the employees have participated in discussions and have looked at any of the messages about the items previously mentioned. My friend seems to believe his employees do not want to get together to learn but believe the employees can learn everything they need to know by looking at an app on their phone. I wonder how an app can replace or duplicate what an employee would learn about products and sales skills by interacting with another employee or the store’s owner.

When you are next looking at some piece of technology for your business; perhaps to control the lights or thermostat; you are going to see a cost savings.

However, when it comes to anything that has to do with human interaction, technology may not be the way to go. When you remove the one-on-one interaction with your customers, you are only one step away from finding that customer shopping on the Internet.

Tom Shay is a fourth-generation small business owner, author, columnist, coach and speaker who has authored several training manuals for retailers that can be found in the Resources section of the Namta website – His knowledge of small business marketing, business strategy, staffing, and financial management have provided small business owners with the help necessary to increase their profits plus build their business for the future. You can learn more here -

Retail Store Numbers Continue to Grow
from National Retail Federation
Mark Mathews  VP, Research Development and Industry Analysis

With the bankruptcy of Barney’s in the news, we’re bound to see another round of handwringing in the media over the “retail apocalypse.” The actual data paints a very different picture, though. As the just-released “Retail Renaissance – A Growth Story” report from IHL Group points out, retail stores are definitely not going away. According to the report, for each company closing stores, 5.2 are opening stores. For every segment of retail, there are more companies opening stores than closing stores. Even the much-maligned department store category has more brands opening stores than closing them.

The reality is that the wave of store closures seen in recent times is being driven by a handful of companies. Just 16 retailers are responsible for 73 percent of retail store closings so far this year, according to IHL. Retail is a dynamic, fast-changing, highly competitive industry and there are no guarantees of success. Consumer expectations are growing and evolving, and retailers must invest heavily to improve the in-store experience.

In the most recent edition of NRF’s Consumer View report, two-thirds of consumers said technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, smart dressing rooms and in-store navigation apps have improved their in-store experiences. At the point of sale, technologies such as self-checkout, curbside pickup and mobile payment have made checking out an easier and more satisfying experience. The cost of implementing these technologies has been high but it appears to be paying off. If anything, stores remain an integral and growing part of the retail landscape.

According to Census Bureau data, 2018 saw a net increase in retail stores in the United States. There were almost 3,100 more stores during the fourth quarter of 2018 than the same quarter a year earlier. What’s interesting is that the increase appeared to be driven by smaller stores: Stores with fewer than five employees were the big gainer, with a net increase of 4,569 as of the first quarter of 2018 compared with the same time in 2017.

With so many billion-dollar brands that shape our retail consciousness, it’s easy to forget that retail is an industry dominated by small business: 98 percent of retail is made up of small businesses. This segment’s vibrance is encouraging because it represents the future of our industry. There might well be a small business opening its first store today that will become a dominant player in the next decade. The retail landscape 10 years from now will likely be one where stores still play a vital role in the shopping experience.

Art Advocacy - Art Matters

A Wave of New Murals in Flint, Michigan

by Alexandria Brown

It started as an initiative and has grown into a movement. Local and international muralists have descended on Flint, breaking down the walls of access to art and positioning Flint as a destination for fine art as well as neighborliness and culture. In less than three months, more than 40 murals have been completed in Flint bringing color and beauty to neighborhoods, telling stories of the people and places that make up Flint, and positioning the Flint Public Art Project to exceed its goal of completing 50 murals by September. 

“It’s all about perspective - and if we can change the way our city is perceived then we have done our job,” said Sandra Branch, vice president of the Flint Public Art Project. You can see them on water trailers on Flint’s north side or on downtown businesses. You can see them celebrating Flint’s Lantino community and inspiring the next generation of artists in Flint schools.

And, this is just the beginning. Another 15 murals will be completed along South Saginaw Street during the Free City Mural Festival Oct. 7-12 as part of the Flint Public Art Project. The murals create an open museum to those who may not have the means to see world-class art - and the neighborhood jewelry creates a domino effect, inspiring residents to mobilize, Branch said. Art is the gateway to activism, she said. Just by being exposed to the murals, people want to get involved and see themselves reflected. 

There are several murals at the Latinx Tech Center, but one specifically drew special attention from the community, said Director Asa Zuccaro. "One of our children in the community, we had noticed that it looks like her," said Zuccaro. “It’s art that represents people that we serve and the community that is here. At the end of the road, you see that mural which makes me happy because (before) it was a blank square.”

The murals also help feed the local economy, Schipani said. They provide an open invitation for people to walk through the door of local businesses. Read article in its entirety.


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2019 Grant Program sponsored by

Recipients will be announced October 1

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Art used to be an Olympic event. The founder of the modern Games, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, was enamoured with the idea of the true Olympian being a talented artist and sportsperson. Thanks to him, between 1912 and 1948 medals were given out for sporting-inspired masterpieces of architecture, music, painting, sculpture and literature. - from

Read more Facts on

New Position Available

Position Title:
Brand Marketing Leader for Fine Art Materials

Position Location:
Cleveland, Ohio

Estimated Start Date of Position:
September 2019

  Click here for full details and contact information for this position.


Welcome New Members

Specializing in Fine Art, Education and Creative Materials sales & marketing, Worley Sales Associates services retail, specialty and distribution partners in the Southeast US and beyond.  Coverage area includes Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and National Education Distributors.

Hong Hua Vietnam Art Tool Limited Company
, manufacturers of paint color, stretched canvas and brush factories in China. This year they have invested in a canvas and paint color factory in Vietnam. See Membership Directory for contact information.

Hong Hua Vietnam Art Tool Limited Company is a 2020 Art Materials World Exhibitor.

The Question Is . . .

Members - answer this question before September 6th to be in a drawing to win an Art Matters T-shirt.

What does it mean if a badge at Art Materials World is printed on bright colorful paper?

Hint: FAQs

One answer per question please.

At the end of the year, everyone who has answered correctly will be entered in a final drawing to win a $100 Gift Card.

The Last Question was in August 14 eNews

The answer is Henry Meininger. The hint was Henry's son - Judd Meininger.

See the history of Meiningers.


The winner of an Art Matters T-shirt is Johanna Wiseman from Akamai Art Supply in Hawaii.



A Notable Quote 

“Your booth is intended to be a backdrop, not a brochure. This can’t be overstated: people walking by should be able to instantly recognize who you are and what you do. It’s your booth staff’s job to take it from there.”

Tim Asimos, CPSM, Partner, Director of Digital + Growth

Reserve Your Booth Today

Contact Rick Munisteri with questions


Namta Staff recently found these business articles on the Web that may be of interest to you and your staff.

How Small Businesses Can Grow On A Tight Budget

Article from, by Serenity Gibbons

I share insights gathered from purpose-driven entrepreneurs

Growth rarely comes easily. As small businesses expand, they need capital to hire new workers, pursue new projects, and pay off debts. Even companies with good long-term prospects can fold when capital problems create short-term headaches.

According to Investopedia, nearly half of small businesses that fail do so because they run out of funding. Owners of these businesses usually know exactly how much money they need to stay afloat, but when those owners fail to maintain the same attention to detail with their revenue, funding issues can evolve from theoretical to threatening overnight.

To keep your small business in the black as you grow, consider these three ways to ease your capital-related growing pains.

1. Accelerate your A/R.

Massive enterprises can afford to wait 30, 60, or 90 days for their clients to pay the bills. Small businesses rarely have the same luxury. Even if plenty of clients owe you plenty of money, unfulfilled promises can’t keep your lights on.

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait months to get access to money you've already earned. Capital and technology company BAMFi advises businesses with looming capital problems to outsource A/R collection to third parties. Clients get to pay on their schedule, while you get the money you need as soon as you need it.

Unlike bank loans, which depend on your company’s creditworthiness, the viability of A/R outsourcing depends on the credit of your clients. This option makes sense for young businesses that need more time to establish bigger bank accounts. Eventually, you may want to reclaim your A/R collections, but not until you know you can comfortably fund all your projects and overhead in between payments from clients.

2. Get a microloan from an SBA partner.

The U.S. Small Business Administration exists to help young companies find their footing. While the SBA doesn't issue loans directly, the agency works with financial institutions to make it easier for growing companies to access the capital they need.

Even if you don’t need a major infusion of capital, consider getting an SBA-backed microloan through a local lender. These small loans of up to $50,000 (but frequently much less) don’t have the same strict requirements as standard business loans. You still need decent business credit to qualify — and a detailed plan for the money — but you don’t have to jump through the standard hoops to get one.

Microloans work best in circumstances when your business needs to cover a few one-time overhead charges to get things moving. Don’t use this option as a Band-Aid for poor sales performance; rather, treat it as an investment in resources that could help your company earn new business for years to come. Take out a microloan to get computers for your employees or to fund your first big inventory expansion, then rely on revenue to grow from there.

3. Find free alternatives to expensive business necessities.

Software isn’t cheap, but your company doesn’t need a best-of-brand solution for every function. Keep overhead low by finding free or low-cost software options that can scale with your company. Even if you must pay full price for one or two industry-specific tools, you can save money in most areas with a little research.

Keep your marketing costs low with tools like MailChimp’s free plan, which allows you to send 10,000 emails every month to a list of up to 2,000 subscribers. The volume allowed by the free plan is plenty for young companies to grow. For the rest of your marketing needs, check out HubSpot’s free CRM, which offers the functionality you need to develop relationships with prospects and clients.

For in-house needs, you can find similar options for payroll, HR management, internal communications, customer service, web development, project management, and analytics. Hundreds of businesses have created useful tools to provide your company with everything you need to grow on a budget. Don’t spend more on something just because you saw an ad and need one of the product's functions. Instead, do a little research to find a free or cheap option that can handle your immediate needs, even if you’ll eventually have to upgrade.

Small businesses go under for all sorts of reasons, but nothing guarantees failure as quickly as cash flow issues. You can't fix your sales struggles, fill out your team’s roster, or respond to emerging trends in the market without sufficient capital. Rather than screen calls from bill collectors and hope your new clients pay ahead of schedule, use these tips to guarantee financial solvency and give your long-term goals a fighting chance.

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