Attendees Report No Problems on Opening Day

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CHICAGO -- Direct marketing professionals arriving Saturday for the Direct Marketing Association's fall show reported no logistical problems during the event's opening day.

"[The DMA's] shows are good shows and I think this will be a great show," said Monica Murphy, vice president of sales and marketing at Japs-Olson Co., St. Louis Park, MN. "I took the shuttle bus [to McCormick Place] from the Palmer House and I rode with four people I've never met before. We were all fired up to be here. The shuttle bus was right there and when I got here I got my badge easy enough. There were no lines at registration and I think this facility can handle the numbers."

Murphy emphatically answered the question of whether she was afraid to fly even before it had been completed.

"No," she said. "I feel safe traveling. This is the third time I've flown since September 11. The show is worth it and it's a chance for the industry to get together and hear these speakers.

"I did hear that some people might be afraid to fly, but there are a lot of people here."

Murphy has attended the last five DMA conferences and said she needs to meet her customers and prospects.

"Some [customers and prospects] are coming to the show and some decided to stay back," she said.

Her company, which has $125 million in annual sales and 750 employees, provides printing, personalization and mailing for self-mailers and direct mail packages.

As has been the case in the past, her company has about a dozen people at the event, including sales reps and account executives. Murphy applauded the DMA's decision to provide free airfare for attendees who registered after Sept. 11.

"It was a great opportunity for folks who were not coming [because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the United States]," she said. "It was a great idea to stimulate people to come here and the DMA's way of standing by the industry and saying we believe in it and we're going forward."

Along with Murphy, Eileen Spitalny attended Saturday's keynote address.

Spitalny, the president and co-owner of Fairytale Brownies, Chandler, AZ, said "the buzz seemed a little quiet" coming into the hall.

"If it is a smaller conference, maybe we can get more out of it with more one-on-one communications," said Spitalny, who also reported a "smooth and easy" registration process. "I had no thoughts of canceling. I felt that there would be enough people here to make it worthwhile, and that the industry leaders would all be here."

Spitalny's 9-year-old company has 65 employees and produces the Fairytale Brownies catalog eight times per year and during the holiday season the book is to have a circulation of 460,000.

Spitalny said that she knew someone who was to be a speaker who has canceled all speaking engagements since Sept. 11.

"Everybody else I know is supposed to be here," she said. "The DMA is a very well run show. It's never been a disappointment."


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