2022 Top Suppliers: Staton Corporate & Casual's Inventory Investment and Family Atmosphere
As part of Print+Promo Marketing's 2022 Top Suppliers list, we asked some of the top-ranked suppliers about how they managed to continue to grow and bounce back from the pandemic, their thoughts on where the industry stands, their future plans and more.
Check out our conversation with Billie Staton, president of Staton Corporate & Casual, about how robust inventory allowed for double-digit sales growth, and how her company benefits from its family-like atmosphere.
Staton Corporate & Casual – No. 9
2021 sales: $136.6 million
160 employees, three locations
Established in 1981
Billie Staton, president of Staton Corporate & Casual, didn’t mince words when discussing the pandemic’s trickle-down effects for suppliers: “Coming out of 2020, inventory was bad industry-wide.”
That included her own company, whose business model is reliant on volume wholesale sales to distributors that embellish and resell. But challenges only motivate Staton to work harder, even if that means taking big risks. To get ahead of inflationary prices and waning product availability, Staton’s team purchased everything they were offered during 2021. The decision paid off in nearly 11% annual sales growth to $136.6 million and a ninth-place finish on our Top Suppliers list.
“I have larger inventories today than I had pre-COVID,” Staton says. “This has provided a steady flow of product that has helped us to meet our customers’ needs and, in turn, has helped us to grow.”
What They’re Watching: For Staton, elevated freight expenses are an immediate concern, though she admits looming recession fears worry her most. “I like to say that our industry is recession-resistant because, in the past, when people can’t afford to travel, they stay home and support their community with fun runs and high school sports. But, with inflation where it is, I don’t know if that will continue to be true.”
Future Plans: As print and promo companies struggle with hiring and retaining talent, the family-owned and operated business has a roster of 160 employees — many of which are celebrating 20- and 30-year milestones. These same employees help serve customers that have remained loyal to Staton Corporate & Casual since it first opened its doors in 1981. “Those relationships do not last by accident,” Staton acknowledges. “They last because we treat people like they are part of our family.”
In a world where change happens fast, Staton is counting on her loyal and savvy team to help her reach the company’s constant goal: to continue to offer personal, individual service to customers.