May 8, 2019 


What are You Doing

with Customer Data?

 by Tom Shay

Just days after Christmas, I read a holiday shopping report that said . . . “While online holiday shopping is robust this year - given a projected 22 percent spike compared to last year - 36 percent of retailers aren't collecting customer preference data and that doesn't bode well for capitalizing on the e-commerce swell.”

At the advent of online retailing there was a company with the domain of and it was thought to be the big threat to every brick and mortar toy business. However, the business failed early and hence few of us have ever heard of it. What I remember was at the time of the going-out-of-business auction the biggest asset was their customer data.

More was paid for that database than all of their inventory. Even at that early time in the evolution of the internet, people recognized there was value in information about people who shop online.

It’s important to your business that you give your customers a reason to share their information with you.

And therein lies the challenge and solution.

Why would a person share this information with you? Why would you share your email with another business?

For too many businesses the unfortunate answer is that they want to frequently email their customer about what products, and/or services, they are currently offering at a discount price. Nothing more. Just an email that says this is what we have on sale now.

These businesses hope the customer will also see something they need and make a purchase. This narrowly-focused strategy is one reason that I hear, too often, “all today’s customer looks for is a discount.”

Sale pricing doesn’t have to always be the focus of your email communication.

What if your email message were to change to one of enjoyment? An occasional transition to what’s called called content marketing; Telling customers how to use and enjoy the same products and services they have purchased from you.

Talk to them about new techniques, classes, product demonstrations and other offerings from your business. Share news about art materials that you find to be relevant to your customer. Mixing your messages will help turn the focus of your communication away from simple price and item and content and add value to your messages.

So, what will you do with the data information your customers have shared with you?

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 -

NAMTA’s Grant Program provides a great way to demonstrate the effort you and your association are making to support Art Advocacy in your community.  

Launched in 2018, NAMTA’s Grant Program is evolving into a strong and popular extension of the NAMTA’s overall Art Advocacy initiative.  The program awards grants to applicants who support the arts in any of four categories:
  • Public Art
  • Art Education
  • The Military
  • Health & Healing
Be sure to include information about this program in your customer communications and encourage those who are using art “to make a difference in people’s lives” to apply for one of the 2019 Grants.

Click here to download and print flyers for your customers to know about this program.

Click here to see 2018 recipients and learn more about NAMTA’s Grant Program.

Grant Applications must be submitted by July 31, 2019.  

Questions, contact Leah Siffringer at [email protected] or call 704-892-6244.

Thank you to our 2019 Grant Sponsors

If you are interested in sponsoring the Grant Program, contact Sue Cohen 704-892-6244 or [email protected].

Art Matters


A High Quality, Visual Arts Education nurtures essential early learning. Early childhood education visual literacy is a “first” language for communicating thoughts, developing motor skills and communication skills, and helping children understand and make meaning of their lives within their families, schools, and communities. - from

Visual arts can be a powerful discipline to support success throughout a student’s education, both within and outside of school settings. We experience visual arts each day, whether through our own creativity or everyday objects, such as the design of a cereal box or logo of a favorite sports team. For students, engaging with visual arts might take place during an art class, through a trip to an art museum or by participating in an arts-integrated English class . . . read the Visual Arts Matter Report

Galvanizing Artists

. . . to Engage the Military and their Loved Ones in their Communities

Posted by Heather Spooner, MA, ATR-BC, Jenny Baxley Lee, MA, BC-DMT, May 03, 2019
on Americans for the Arts ARTSBLOG

As creative arts therapists working within the VA, we have one of the most rewarding jobs imaginable. The veterans we work with inspire us every day and we work within a system that values our contributions. It is an exciting time to do this work, as the arts and creative arts therapies are receiving increased recognition by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, thanks largely to programs such as the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military: Americans for the Arts and Creative Forces: The NEA Military Healing Arts Network.  

Additionally, Florida has the third largest veteran population in the nation and houses two of the eleven clinical sites for Creative Forces. Many veterans, service members, and their families are interested in the arts. They may wish to integrate creative arts therapies into their clinical care, or simply integrate arts practices into their life to support overall wellbeing.

Florida is also home to an incredibly rich array of artists and arts programs, many of whom are incredibly interested in working with military service members and veterans.  One of our biggest challenges is how to connect these artists with those service members and veterans who would love to partner with them. There are also a seemingly infinite number of questions: What should an artist know to do this work? How can veterans and artists connect with one another? And how do we demonstrate the value of these partnerships? (Image courtesy of the Harn Museum of Art)

This year, the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine is partnering with the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs on a project to answer some of these questions. We are in the process of creating an open-access online resource for veterans and community artists who wish to engage in community arts interactions with active service members, veterans, and their loved ones.

We began by tugging on the end of a thread to feel the ways it was connected to the rest of the cloth. We discovered regional webs across the state of Florida committed to artistic excellence and arts access among individual veterans, artists, and arts organizations. We are working even now to collate the professional and personal experiences, input, and ideas from those who may want to share the great work they are doing, with the express vision to capture as many voices and expertise in this work as possible.

In this effort, we dream of interweaving creative input to shape and inform the content and to ensure we include the most helpful, relevant, and meaningful information to artists who are engaged in building healthier communities as part of the wider effort to formalize the intersection of arts in public health. Sitting down together to curate a collection of Florida veteran artists’ stories, personal experiences, and expertise is both a daunting task and a privilege.

The open access resource will highlight Florida’s vibrant arts in health community and arts programs for veterans and military personnel; demonstrate the impact of the arts with military services members, veterans, and their families; and address special competencies needed for this area of work. We are actively seeking input from artists and veterans who would like to highlight their work in this process and welcome you to share your stories with us in the comments; or join the Facebook group we have started for this purpose: Community Arts for Military Health and Wellbeing.

Examples of modules we are currently working to populate include:
  • What is community arts for military health and well-being?
  • Where is it happening? (featuring program examples from Florida and around the nation)
  • What’s it like for the artists, service members, veterans, and families who participate?
  • What do I need to know? (including scope of practice for artists working in communities to ensure relevance, relatability, and meaning)     
  • Where do I begin?
  • Then what?
We know the inherent value of being more active contributors in a more deeply socially embedded role in our communities. We believe the arts can help. We hope this project increases arts access in support of our service members, deepens their connection to their local communities, and enhances the overall well-being of all involved.

Notable Quote   

“Always have an attitude of gratitude.” - James Nowlin

James R. Nowlin, Founder & CEO, Excel Global Partners created this quote to remind himself and others in his company that whenever a customer contacts them, it is a blessing even if that customer made contact to file a complaint. After all, each complaint provides an insight on how you can improve the company. So in Mr. Nowlin's company, they make sure that every customer is approached with an attitude of thankfulness. Even when a customer is being irate, they take it to mean the customer cares that much about our company that he/she reacts that much due to a shortcoming or mistake. A thankful approach is the best way to converse with customers.

Interesting Statistic

E-commerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of American small businesses do not have a website.

from, March 2019, by Lauren Fram

Member News

Grimstad Comerford Group, Inc. announces the addition of a new business partner, Amanda Del Valle, as their newest company principle and Vice President. In doing so, they have changed their name to Grimstad Comerford Del Valle Group, Inc.

Amanda has been with the organization since 2008 in a variety of jobs including managing a sales territory, key account sales administration and key account management. She will continue in her current role as a key account manager and managing a select territory. As a partner, Amanda becomes an important part of the company's long term strategy. Grimstad Comerford Del Valle Group, Inc, was originally founded as R. Grimstad and Company in 1981. They are proud of their team of professional sales representatives and administrators, and are very pleased to have Amanda Del Valle as a part of our company's leadership.

Art Materials Retailer Magazine
has a new issue out that includes an article on Namta member Dawson Cannon, and "Faces from Art Materials World 2019".

Welcome New Members

Pinceladas Art Studio
, located in Puerto Rico, is a workshop that offers art classes to children, youth and adults. They are incorporating the sale of art materials into their business, and plan to eventually sell online.


New River Art & Fiber Co., located in Blacksburg, VA, is a fiber arts retailer looking to expand to include a broader range of products serving makers, artists, and designers of all disciplines.

These Web articles may be of interest to you and your staff.


The 'Three Hs'

Look for these when You're Hiring New Team Members

Post written by Don Markland on  Don Markland is a monster global sales leader, executive coach and CRO of MoneySolver. See what he does daily with Accountability Now.

Every sales manager or entrepreneur is eventually going to run into the problem of deciding who to hire. Hiring and recruiting could continue to be one of the biggest hurdles facing growing companies in the near future - the unemployment rate is at a 10-year low, yet BLS data (via showed more jobs were created in 2018 than in the previous two years.

In my career as an executive and as a consultant, I continually get questions about how I hire the right outside people with the necessary experience while still maintaining an already established culture and identity. One can do a simple online search and find fantastic articles that offer a myriad of questions you can ask in an interview. This article is a little deeper than that. It’s about how to identify what I call the "Three Hs": humble, hungry, and hunting.

I’d love to say that I created the "Three Hs" concept, but I learned it many years ago from various friends and colleagues, and I’ve since adapted it to fit my personal hiring strategy. The "Three Hs" concept, simply put, is a set of guideposts to help the entrepreneur or small business owner put stakes in the ground in regards to what they are looking for in terms of culture, growth, and attitude -- and more importantly, learn how to identify it.

The First 'H': Humble
This is the quality of coachability. A candidate that possesses humility demonstrates the ability to receive feedback and is constantly coachable. In any startup, entrepreneurial venture, small business, or even enterprise company, continuous coaching will occur. I suppose there is little more frustrating than an employee who lacks the emotional maturity to receive feedback. No single person is ever all-knowing. Even the most seasoned executive isn't above accountability and should be able to learn and understand how to get better. Here are some questions that I like to ask to identify humbleness:
• Tell me about the biggest professional mistake you’ve ever made. What did you learn from that?
• Tell me some of the recent tough feedback you received from a leader or a mentor. How did you implement what they told you? What changes did you make?
• Tell me about some people you mentor. What are some of the pieces of advice you give them?

The Second 'H': Hungry
This is the quality of having a physical yearning or even a pain in your gut that causes you to work hard every single day. Imagine the feeling that you get when you’re completely famished because you’ve skipped a couple of meals and your stomach is rumbling with a fervor. That’s the hunger you want from a potential employee every day. You want that ache in their gut to come in and stay at it, especially when the pressure is on and the stress is high. Here are a few questions I ask to identify hunger:
• On a regular day, what time do you like to start working?
• What’s your preferred morning routine? Do you have a workout or handle emails? Describe it for me.
• Can you describe your perfect workday to me?

The Last 'H': Hunting
If an applicant is "hungry," they have a constant revenue-growth mentality. In entrepreneurship and really all forms of business, one of the most important mindsets to have is one of revenue growth. Every single position in the organization, from the janitor to the accountant to the software developer and from the business development rep to the closer, contributes to revenue -- and I've found it's essential that they all think that way. Everyone has a responsibility to take care of current customers as well as bring in new customers to build up the bottom line in their own respective spheres. Everyone plays a vital role in this process, as we are all cogs in the grand turning wheel of a growing organization. When someone doesn’t understand that, they simply aren’t a fit for me. Here are a couple of prompts that I use to help identify if the candidate has the hunting mentality:
• Describe how your roles in the past have contributed to the growth of the company.
• Walk me through how you helped build your company’s revenue stream in the last year, even in a small way.

In a small business or on a small team, every hire is essential, and you often cannot afford a miss or dead weight. Companies can lose a lot of time and money on bad hiring decisions. I strongly recommend hiring managers avoid the canned interview questions and the resume analysis and start asking real culture-driven questions that identify whether these people connect with your culture and your growth mentality. When people do this, and they get the talent part right, their companies could be more successful and growth could be easier to obtain.

Opioid addiction affects businesses’ bottom line
Despite stereotypes of drug addicts being unemployed or underemployed, many opioid abusers go to work every day…

Financial Flexibility in Business: How to Establish A Strong Footing
When businesses become overleveraged, bad things happen. When businesses are able to maintain financial flexibility, they’re far more likely to enjoy long-term success...

PayPal Alternatives for Accepting Online Payments
While hundreds of millions of active PayPal accounts exist globally and many retailers accept PayPal, there are alternatives out there for people looking for something else...

Namta Members get access to special pricing and more with a Store Purchasing Card. Click here for more info!

Namta Member Account #: 8012 806 1458

Click here to open a Namta Office Depot/Office Max account.

Questions, contact Randy Bock:
[email protected]
855-337-6811 ext 12716


Namta Members can save on FedEx® Shipments and more with the Namta Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®.

Don’t miss out on the savings – enroll today!

Visit for complete program details.

Shipping program can be used in USA only.