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Exceeding Expectations - Every Time: Above & Beyond Promotions Ltd. Celebrates their 10th Anniversary By Nerissa McNaughton

“Our goal isn’t to be the biggest, it’s to be the best.” – Rick Nutting

R

ick Nutting, president of Above & Beyond Promotions Ltd., is the first to admit that the drive to be the “best and not the biggest” sounds cliché, but after 10 years in business, there is simply no better motto for this incredibly unique promotional company. “We are not an exclusively online store where people don’t know what they’re getting until it’s delivered to them. When you call or order from Above & Beyond, you are talking directly with a knowledgeable person, not to someone on the other side of the world, the way many other large companies operate. Our process involves working with people on a personal level to get them the products they want while keeping within their budget. We value our relationships with our clients and always do our best to ensure they are satisfied with both the product and the experience,” says Nutting. He runs the company alongside his wife and vice president Karla Kushniruk. Together, they and their staff use first-hand product knowledge to help clients choose from among thousands of items. They only sell quality products and they prefer to meet their clients so they can have the tactile experience of seeing, touching and using the promotional products before they buy them.

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“I am the first one to admit that 85 per cent of promotional items are garbage,” says Nutting, “and it is my job to find the 15 per cent that are not.” An entrepreneur at heart, Nutting left the copy machine business so he could work in an industry that he found truly exciting. At first he tested the waters by running the company from home, but when the orders came in so fast that boxes started to block their front door, Nutting and his wife invested in a larger house that had a full basement for their employees, along with a garage that served as a warehouse. Above & Beyond promptly outgrew that space too, so in 2012 the company moved to their current location on 97 Street and 41 Avenue. As Above & Beyond celebrates their 10th anniversary, they show no signs of slowing down.

Above & Beyond works closely with the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Neurosurgery Kids Fund (NKF), providing items to comfort sick children and to create memorial items for children that have passed on.

“We believe in KYP and KYC, which stands for know your product and know your client,” Kushniruk says. She comes from a finance background where the philosophy of KYC is very important. After taking a short career break to help Nutting with the administrative side of the company, she discovered her own passion for Above & Beyond – and delved into running it alongside Nutting. “You need to educate yourself on who the client is, their goals and what they are trying to achieve. If you do your legwork and know their event, you can steer them to the right product.” With over tens of thousands of products available, KYC and KYP is vitally important. Anyone can grab a bunch of pens from a supplier and slap their brand on it, but a carefully thought out promotional product provides an incredible return on investment (ROI). For example, a thin blanket with a company’s logo embroidered in

the corner is nice – but a plush, thick throw lined on one side with sheep’s wool and screened with a beautiful photo (like the skyline of the city) and the company’s name and logo properly placed on the other side is so much better. Why? Because it is an item the recipient will love, use and display. Nutting and Kushniruk love the advances in the industry that allow them to offer products with sublimation (threads dyed in instead of simply embroidered on top), laser cutting, 3D, and CAD cuts. “Technology has made things that are more fun and creative,” laughs Nutting. In addition to knowing their products inside out and working with their clients to deliver the best promotional items for their needs,

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Unique items from Above & Beyond include: Alcohol breathalyzers Custom bobble heads Apparel School gear Tote bags Breast cancer awareness items Banking items Custom socks Awards Signs Candy and treats Computer gadgets Drinkware Desk accessories Backpacks Flashlights Wristbands Medical apparel Towels Trade show gear Watches Umbrellas

Dedication and passion. Those are the two best words to describe what Above & Beyond is all about, and there are numerous examples to prove it.

And so much more!

Above & Beyond prides itself on its purchasing power. The company has access to manufacturers both locally and abroad to ensure every client gets the product – and the price point – they need. Promotional products are not the only thing Above & Beyond is passionate about. Their devotion to their community inspires them every day. The company supports many non-profit initiatives, and one that is very close to their hearts is the Stollery’s Neurosurgery Kids Fund (NKF). As a major sponsor of the NKF, Kushniruk works directly with parents whose children are undergoing treatment for neurological issues, and with parents who have lost a child. Never shirking from the task of meeting with grieving parents to create personalized memorial items, or providing comforting baby blankets for kids receiving care, the Above & Beyond team is committed to making a real, lasting difference in the lives of the people around them.

Example 1: In the early days when Above & Beyond was still working out of a residence, they got a request for patio umbrellas. They said yes. When the 750 boxes of umbrellas showed up, their garage was dwarfed. They needed to get the umbrellas separated from the stems so they could be logoed. Friends and family were commandeered. A production line stretched into the back alley. The impromptu team feasted on homemade chili between shifts. They worked around the clock unpacking and repacking the order. “These days we have the space and the staff to do that for us,” laughs Kushniruk, “but back then, we did everything ourselves.” Example 2: Nutting was attending a wedding and the food, catered by a friend of his, was outstanding. “How come only three or four people here know your company provided this food?” Nutting asked his friend. “Everyone should have a napkin with your company’s name on it so they can literally wipe their face with your logo!” The friend agreed, ordered 10,000 napkins and enjoyed the boost it brought his business.

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“Looking back over the last 10 years, did I envision that we would be where we are today?” Nutting muses. “Absolutely! I came from the office equipment industry where nobody got excited to buy photocopiers, but now I get to sell products that people love and are interested in. It is ‘fun’ sales!”

Founder Rick Nutting, vice president and wife Karla Kushniruk and their son enjoy their time together in and out of the office.

Example 3: Employee Stephen Way felt like Santa Claus when he personally delivered products to a company promoting a fashion line. “Everyone was trying to get a peek inside the boxes,” beams Way. “They instantly Instagrammed their order.”

He loves running the company alongside his staff, empowering and encouraging them every day. “Being a leader means recognising people have different approaches and working with them to identify their strengths and weaknesses to ensure their own personal success. To my team, I say your strengths are what have gotten you here. Never forget them, but always work on your weaknesses. We always want to progress as individuals. People get excited to meet with us and to see what kind of cool things we can offer, so let’s have fun!”

“The excitement on the client’s face when we deliver their product is what we live for,” admits Nutting. The examples could go on and on but the best way to be a part of the Above & Beyond experience is to see what this devoted, passionate, dedicated team can do for your business. For 10 years their company has grown rapidly based on strong referrals from satisfied clients and even though Alberta is in the grip of a recession, Above & Beyond is thriving.

To learn more about how you can promote your brand while receiving an incredible ROI contact: 52, 9703-41 Ave Edmonton, AB T6E 6M9 Phone: (780) 637-0776 info@abpromo.ca • www.abpromo.ca

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