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Onecoast Network Formed Through Merger Of Ivan Bloom, Kennedy Group, Nilan Company And Toler Marketing

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In an unprecedented move, four of the nation's largest and most respected regional manufacturer's representative agencies (MRA) within the Home and Gift industries announced their intent to merge their respective businesses, creating a new company called OneCoast Network. The new company will become the first nationwide manufacturer's representative agency to offer contracted sales services to manufacturers and to retail users in the Home and Gift industries. In addition, OneCoast Network will immediately embark on the development of a sophisticated technology-based order processing system, which is expected to be the first of its kind in the industry. According to Charles Kennedy, who will assume the title of Chairman of OneCoast Network, the new company will be created by merging existing, well-respected, Home and Gift manufacturer representative agencies. "OneCoast Network means much more than the combining of four well-established business operations," Kennedy said. "The true point-of-difference will result from the resources and capital that will be directed toward building this new technology that will significantly enhance service to retailers, while providing greater efficiencies to manufacturers." Kennedy explained that the new laptop-sized personal computer-based technology will encompass an online order processing system, which will be used by OneCoast Network sales representatives in the field and showroom locations. Orders will be downloaded to manufacturers at the end of every day, providing the availability of real-time information for retailers and manufacturing sources. OneCoast Network initially will be comprised of the Chicago-based Home industry sales organization, Ivan Bloom & Associates; Dallas-based Kennedy Group's premier Home and Gift divisions; Atlanta's leading sales organization to the Gift industry, the Nilan Company; and Chicago's Toler Marketing Group Ltd., a sales organization serving the Gift industry. OneCoast Network plans to add other regional Home and Gift agencies to its network in the near future, with an initial focus on representation of Gift and Home MRAs in the New York and Los Angeles markets. Details of the agreement have not been disclosed, but the combined gross sales of the new company are in excess of $200 million annually. Headquartered in Atlanta, with regional offices in Chicago and Dallas, OneCoast Network will be established as the Home and Gift industries' leading sales organization, employing more than 225 sales professionals. The OneCoast senior management team will include: Chairman: Charles Kennedy of the Dallas-based Home and Gift MRA, Kennedy Group. As an industry leader, Mr. Kennedy brings more than 25 years of unparalleled experience and integrity. Chief Executive Officer: Michael Nilan of Atlanta's leading Gift MRA, the Nilan Company. Mr. Nilan brings more than 20 years of progressive specialty Gift industry experience to OneCoast Network, and is regarded as an innovator of technological advances to the Gift industry. President and Chief Operating Officer: John Hayes, who was trained as an engineer and lawyer, and has 25 years of experience in developing technological solutions for business and professional service markets. Mr. Hayes' accomplishments include serving as managing director of the Internet Studio (a division of Information America and The Thomson Corporation), a founder of Peachtree Software, representative to the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech, and founder of Comsell, Inc. (an early developer of interactive multimedia applications). The company's leadership team also will include William Dawson as Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, and Kevin Finley as Executive Vice President, Corporate Development. "The formation of this new company will fundamentally change the way business has been approached in our industry," said Nilan. "The OneCoast Network was formed to capitalize on technology through unity and to focus on better service to our manufacturers and end-user retailers." He added, "We know that our customers will welcome the opportunities this new organization will bring. We believe that forming a national MRA will provide the opportunity to offer the industry the most advanced level of sales automation and improved productivity through careful management and strategic investments in information technology." OneCoast Network will be the only nationwide manufacturer's representative agency to the Home and Gift industries. The company is the industry's largest, generating gross sales in excess of $200 million annually and serving more than 50,000 customers. Employing more than 225 professionals nationwide, OneCoast Network is headquartered in Atlanta with regional offices in Dallas and Chicago.

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