TLMI unites North American label industry in Colorado

The North American trade association hosted its annual event this fall to a record number of attendees

The TLMI Annual Meeting was hosted at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Photo by Robert Pizzuco

TLMI welcomed nearly 500 members at its annual meeting
hosted at the idyllic Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs,
Colorado from Oct 15-17.

The topics of discussion during the three-day event were
centered on the economy, mergers and acquisitions, extended producer responsibility, workforce and more.

Alan Beaulieu, a favorite of TLMI and principal at ITR economics, predicts a mild recession in 2024 with recovery in 2025, followed by an economic expansion in the later part of the decade. For business owners to manage increased demand, he advised them to start thinking now about solving bottlenecks in their businesses.

If there’s something you want to buy, buy it in 2024. If you don’t invest in your business now, you’ll be playing catch-up the rest of the decade

‘The overarching question is: what are we going to do to handle the demand that’s coming your way? You’re going to be busier than ever and challenged at the same time,’ Beaulieu says. ‘That’s not something you want to develop on the fly.’

‘This is the perfect time to invest in your business,’ he continues. ‘Spend money on your business wherever you need it. If there’s something you want to buy, buy it in 2024. If you don’t invest in your business now, you’ll be playing catch up the rest of the decade.’

Mergers and acquisitions were a common thread throughout many of the sessions. Representatives from BMO Capital Markets provided the audience with both a history of the recent private equity activity and a glimpse into where the label market is headed.

‘Twenty years ago, there was not a lot of private equity appetite in labels,’ says BMO managing director Jon Ewing. ‘A lot of that was borne out by the perception that labels were a commodity product, with low growth prospects and unsustainable margins. What investors eventually found was this is an industry with embedded customer relations, a low-cost/high-value product, and a market with high organic growth, with sustainably high margins. It’s as hot an M&A market that any of us has ever seen.’

The last two years brought turbulence as consumer prices rose and historic supply chain volatility disrupted the label industry and resulted in a small decline in M&A activity across all sectors. However, with an estimated 1,500 independent label companies across the US, there is no doubt this activity will continue, BMO says.


Capping the Annual Meeting each night were award ceremonies that recognized the converter, supplier and volunteer of the year, honoring the industry’s environmental leaders and recognizing the best in print.

Award Winners

Converter of the year was a crown given to the king himself:
Robert Parker, owner of Label King in San Diego, California. The supplier of the year award went to Domino and was presented to David Ellen, divisional director at Domino. Tracy Tenpenny was posthumously awarded the volunteer of the year award. Tenpenny, of Tailored Label Products, passed away in December 2022, shortly after TLMI’s annual meeting where he spearheaded the new pickleball tournament. Tenpenny’s wife, Clare, and daughter, Lorraine, attended the meeting and accepted the award on his behalf.

McDowell Label took home the coveted best of show print award as well as a host of others, alongside peers who were awarded the coveted print award prize (see boxout). TLMI revamped its print awards this year to focus more on end-use categories and to fall in line with fellow L9 association awards.

Chelsea McDougall

  • Group managing editor