irreverent, thought-provoking analysis of the industry.
HIA/ACCI: Q. & A.
Q. What's been the primary philosophy throughout this
A. First and foremost, do no harm. In other words, if the
industry and its members don't benefit from this merger, then it
Q. So what are the benefits?
A. There are a number of benefits:
1. The industry will be able to speak in a stronger, more
2. With one organization sponsoring both shows, educational
programs can be coordinated.
3. Members will save money, paying dues to only one
organization instead of two.
4. It will be more cost efficient, thus saving money for
members -- instead of two executive directors, two staffs, etc.
5. Things will be simpler for members. They will receive
newsletters and notices from one organization instead of two, work
with one organization for two trade shows, etc.
Q. When will it be official?
A. February 2004.
Q. What will the new name be?
A. The Craft & Hobby Association.
Q. Who's in charge?
A. The board of directors. The board will be comprised of the
current members of the HIA and ACCI boards. Eventually, as terms
expire, the board will decline in number to 15.
Q. Who will be the Executive Director of the combined
A. Steve Berger, current HIA Executive Director .
Q. What roles will current staff members/show management
A. Offinger Management owns the summer show, so O.M.'s
employees will continue to work on it, while all HIA staff members
will continue to oversee services and programs.
Q. Will there still be two shows?
A. Yes, one in the early part of the year and one in the
summer, just like there has been for decades.
Q. Will both shows carry the same name?
Q. What are membership dues?
A. Members will only pay dues to the new organization, rather
to both HIA and ACCI. The dues will be comparable to existing HIA
Q. What services will the new association offer?
A. That will ultimately depend on the new, combined board of
directors, but the thinking is that it will be a full service
association. In other words, in addition to sponsoring trade shows,
the C&HA will provide additional services such as market
studies, extensive member education, consumer publicity campaigns,
and so on.
Q. What happens to the dues already paid?
A. They will be applied to CH&A. If someone had paid dues
to both organizations for the upcoming year, there would be a
Q. What happens to the reserves each organization has?
A. The member equity of both HIA and ACCI will go into the
new organization, C&HA.
Q. Why weren't members consulted?
A. The member-elected boards are charged with the
responsibility of directing both associations. In that capacity,
board members determined that unification was best for their fellow
members and the interests of the industry.
Q. What's involved in the due diligence process?
A. It's essential the same type of research involved when one
company buys another. Outside accountants check to make certain the
books are in order, that there aren't any unknown lawsuits pending
against one side or another, etc. Both the HIA and ACCI boards have
an obligation to its members to join forces only after they know the
other side doesn't have costly hidden expenses on the horizon, such
as pending lawsuits.
Q. When did these discussions begin?
A. Actually these discussions have been going on for years
but really took a more organized form early this year.
Q. What was the process?
A. Essentially, ACCI's board president, Lynda Musante, and
HIA's president, Bill Reed discussed the concept. Then each board
appointed three members to serve on a merger committee. That
committee has been meeting for months, in person and via conference
calls. After each meeting, the members would report back to their
respective boards, who in turn voted to continue the process.
Q. Who's on the committee?
A. The HIA board appointed Jim Bremer (The Tall Mouse), Ron
LaRosa (Delta), and Mike McCooey (Plaid). The ACCI board appointed
Jim Scatena (Floracraft), Emma Gebo (Crafts & Frames), and Mike
Hartnett (Creative Leisure News). Jim Bremer and Jim Scatena are the
Q. What happens to the current boards?
A. Any member of either board who has time left on his or her
term will be a member of the new C&HA board, until that term
expires. In other words, if an ACCI board member has one year left,
he or she would serve on the C&HA board for one year.
Q. There's been a sense of competition between HIA and ACCI,
which has kept both groups on their toes, so to speak. Will that be
lost now that there will be only one organization?
A. It shouldn't. The new board will concentrate on picking
the best of both organizations and reducing excess costs. For
example, each group's website has some strong features. The board
and appropriate committees will choose the best of both into one
strong website. At the same time, we're not paying for two
webmasters, two websites, etc.