The Occasions Group announces dealer Renewal plan, commits to 5-year multi-million dollar investment plan

NORTH MANKATO, Minn., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Occasions Group, formed in 2004, provides direction to Taylor Corporation's wedding and social stationery companies. After conducting and analyzing market research among both dealers and their customers, it was decided to focus our offerings across all wholesale marketing channels by going to market under one brand — Carlson Craft, the nation's most recognized brand, — and invest millions of dollars to offer dealers and customers more choices and value. The plan includes additional technology for online tools and mobile apps, as well as new designs and albums.

"We have a rich history in this marketplace," explains Mike Provenzano, President of The Occasions Group. "Our parent company, Taylor Corporation, evolved from the acquisition of Carlson Wedding Service in Mankato, MN, in 1975 by Glen Taylor, who is Chairman and CEO of Taylor today. This became the foundation for what would grow to become a family of companies that continue to offer exciting new products, industry-leading production capabilities, and innovative selling and ordering options." Other Occasions Group companies supporting this market include McPhersons in Sunman, IN; Artco (Stylart) in Rexburg ID; International Artcrafts in Stratford, Ontario; and Tatex in Waco, TX.

To provide continued support to dealers, The Occasions Group introduced its Renewal Plan, along with a five-year program of significant financial investment. "The Renewal Plan is aimed at giving our dealers a much larger set of choices for products, design, marketing, selling and ordering," explains Provenzano. "We'll focus our offerings by emphasizing the Carlson Craft brand across all wholesale marketing channels ... Internet to albums to bridal shows. Our dealers can be confident they will be served from traditional locations by long-standing customer service personnel. Orders will be fulfilled from the closest location for the dealer and the customer."

Based on feedback from their dealers, as well as their own market research, The Occasions Group found that consumer preferences are fundamentally changing with respect to key events, milestones and occasions in life. "For example, many segments of the U.S. population have thoughts about occasions that are different from the traditional," says Provenzano. "Additionally, consumer buying habits are changing driven by this new interpretation of occasions and also the shift to online purchasing."

The Occasions Group has already developed a suite of new online tools, with more to be offered in the coming years. "Today's consumers want convenience and choice at their fingertips," says Barb Kaus, VP Wholesale Brand for Carlson Craft, "allowing them to shop when, where and how they want. We're developing mobile apps for phones and tablets, and expanding our social media reach through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest."

Carlson Craft will be attending the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in New York City, May 19-22. Visit them at booth # 2320, right inside the main pavilion doors.

About The Occasions Group
The Occasions Group is a subsidiary of Taylor Corporation, one of the largest privately held companies in the United States, with more than 80 subsidiaries and 9,000 employees.  The Occasions Group has an extensive presence in multiple market channels focused on personalized communications, with over 1,200 employees operating from eight locations in the United States and Canada.  Customers rely on The Occasions Group to leverage industry and consumer knowledge to provide strategy, as well as create, design, manufacture, personalize, and fulfill a wide array of personalized offerings. The variety of personalized offerings include wedding invitations and stationery, accessories and napkins, Christmas, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving cards, anniversary, baby, and graduation announcements, bar and bat mitzvahs, party invitations, writing stationery, address labels, laser papers, and much more, to help make everyday occasions and milestones memorable.  Additional information can be found at www.theoccasionsgroup.com.

About Carlson Craft
Carlson Craft is the Nation's leading wholesale printing company specializing in personalized social stationery including wedding invitations, baby announcements, party invitations, graduation announcements and holiday cards.  As a wholesaler, Carlson Craft sells products through a nationwide network of dealers. The high-quality products combined with fast turnaround, plus industry-leading technology and customer service, have fueled Carlson Craft's growth since its beginning in 1948. Additional information can be found at www.carlsoncraft.com.

SOURCE The Occasions Group



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