Behind the scenes at Rossi 1931: Shea Associates

Rossi has been fortunate to find quality, hardworking sales representatives. One such rep, actually an entire group of full time road reps, is Shea associates. Headed by Sandy Shea, this group of nine, cover all 6 New England States, as well as New York State. Founded in 1988 and celebrating 25 years in the gift and paper industry, Sandy has strived to find the highest quality, innovative and creative products to bring to her customers. She and her group have developed and nurtured wonderful relationships with many of the mid to high end paper and gift retailers in 7 states.

When you see the professionalism and commitment put forth, it’s easy to understand why Sandy has cultured wonderful and long term relationships with her manufacturers as well. That is quite an accomplishment in this business, but perhaps, in part, due to the fact that Sandy, with her Scottish Canadian roots and her rather strong Boston accent, paints a rather colorful character.

Sandy spent many years, prior to becoming an independent rep, with a major pen and stationery manufacturer and when they reorganized, she decided to go out on her own. So, she began with what she knew best: fine paper, eventually picking up gift lines. She was thrilled when she was offered the Rossi line in 1994, when, ”at that time, there was only one rep in the US, in California.”

She loves Rossi for “the beauty and class of the line”…and the pricing is great. ”It’s very reasonable for such beautiful, quality products. They have free shipping on any order over $500, which is very generous. The customers love it.”

She says the best sellers for her customers in New England are the gift wrap and decorative papers…both rolls and sheets. She has some very big and prestigious paper retailers in Boston “who just love this line.”

Her retailers also like the solid range of boxed notes and thank you notes. “Everything you get from Rossi is top of the line, right down to the boxes. So many American paper companies have good products, but the packaging is junky. With Rossi it’s all top notch.”

Because Boston and most of New England, is a huge college area, the journals and notebooks do very well also. “They are fabulous… with elastic bookmarks, they come in different sizes and designs, both classic Florentine and more contemporary designs. In both hard cover and soft.”

‘’All of Rossi’s price points are wonderful”, she continues. ”The greeting cards, packaged individually in cello, retail at around $2.50. You can’t beat it, you know.”

Shea associates has 2 showrooms. One in Hudson, Massachusetts at the Northeast Market Center and the other in Saco, Maine: Marketplace Maine. While these days are a bit easier with 2 showrooms and a computer program for ordering, it’s still a lot of work, but a lot of fun. It was not always that easy: She recalls the “good old days” when not having a showroom and doing both the Boston and New York shows; of “loading up a huge rental truck at 4 AM, and driving for hours in bumper to bumper traffic, through snowstorms into the city to set up the booths. We lugged carpets, backgrounds and boxes of samples and catalogues, standing for 13 hour days on concrete and hand writing orders. Oh, the fun of it all. Ha!”

She loves her “team”, especially two…one is her husband, Mike, (business manager and IT guru) and another her daughter, Becky. One could say, it’s a family affair now.

Check out Shea Associates beautiful new website:

Sandy (standing, 4th from left) and her associates.

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