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Vol. 48, No. 5, May 2008

Vending Features
AMAF Sets 2008 Confab For Ft. Lauderdale: June 20-22
Tim Sanford
FT. LAUDERDALE, FL (May 2008) — The Automatic Merchandising Association of Florida has scheduled its 2008 annual convention for the Riverside Hotel here June 20-22. AMAF is a state council of the National Automatic Merchandising Association.

AMS Streamlines Sales Organization To Improve Efficiency, Readies Frozen Food Machine For Midsummer Rollout
Emily Jed
KEARNEYSVILLE, WV (May 2008) — Automated Merchandising Systems Inc. announced a new structure to its sales organization that officials say will speed internal communication and ultimately enhance customer service.  The machine manufacturer also added new features to the Sensit snack line and will be ready to launch its highly anticipated frozen vender in midsummer. (Click on headline for full story.)

C-Stores Set Record Highs; Fees, Fuel Costs Drop Profits
Emily Jed
CHICAGO ( May 2008) — Convenience store industry sales reached a new high of $577.4 billion in 2007, but profits dropped by $1.4 billion. The decline is largely attributed to higher credit card fees, according to data released by the National Association of Convenience Stores. 

Federal Appeals Court Rules Banknotes Discriminate Against Blind; NAMA Considers Next Action
Emily Jed
CHICAGO (May 21, 2008)This week, the U.S. government has been told to change the size or texture of its banknotes because it is difficult for blind people to tell the notes apart. A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that having all dollar notes the same size and texture was unacceptable. In response, the National Automatic Merchandising Association said it will immediately look into steps necessary to protect the industry.

KIC, CT Cooperate To Design Novel Validator Cleaning Aid
AUBURN, ME (May 2008) — KIC Products and Clean Team Co. (San Diego, CA) have announced their collaboration in developing  the Lucky Stripe Waffletechnology Cleaning Card for use in cleaning bill validators.  The new maintenance aid is now shipping.

NAMA Lauds Creativity With iSpot Awards For OneShow Exhibitors
Tim Sanford
NAMA is celebrating imaginative contributions toward industry progress with its first-ever Innovation Awards. They'll be presented at the upcoming OneShow in Chicago, and all exhibitors who entered the competition will receive iSpot medallions to display at their booths...

NRA Seminar Series Coaches Operators On ‘Greening’ Foodservice; Restaurant Industry Performance And Outlook Continue To Soften
Emily Jed
CHICAGO (May 12, 2008) The National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, which opens on Saturday, May 17, and runs through May 20 at McCormick Place here, will feature a special series of education sessions focused on sustainability and environmentally friendly measures operators can take to “green” their businesses. Separately, NRA's Restaurant Performance Index shows restaurant activity falling sharply.

OCS Industry Can Gain By Meeting Demand For Cause-Related Coffee
Emily Jed
CHERRY HILL, NJ (May 2008) — Positioning an OCS operation as a “good corporate citizen” can be valuable in securing new business today, and publicizing causes congenial to environmentally and socially aware patrons, like sustainable organic agriculture and purchasing practices that reward responsible production, can build sales and bolster customer loyalty. [full story]

Ohio Vending Pioneer Boosts Sales By Expanding $1 Snack Categories
Emily Jed
TIFFIN, OH (June 2, 2008) — Full--line vending pioneer Arnold Vending Co. has added a new category: premium snack items priced at $1 and higher. The result, say company officials, has been more satisfied customers, higher overall volume and a boost to the bottom line… [full story]

PAMC, AMCNJ Merge, Add Delaware Operators To Create Tri-State Council; Plan Joint Meet With MDCVA, June 5-6
Tim Sanford
HERNDON, VA  (May 2008) — The Automatic Merchandising Council of New Jersey and the Pennsylvania Automatic Merchandising Council have come together to form a new association to represent operators in both states and in Delaware. Called the Tri-State Automatic Merchandising Council, it was established by an agreement of merger signed by AMCNJ president Jeff West and PAMC president Andy Calhoun.

Music and Games Features
Andamiro’s Oh! Hammer2 Expands Redemption Offerings
Larisa Jayne Shewczyk
GARDENA, CA (May 2008)  — Andamiro USA has introduced a redemption game that offers family-oriented play and a twist on traditional mechanical hammer games. Called Oh! Hammer2, it features a large, horizontally mounted touch-sensitive monitor that players hit with soft plastic mallets to complete a variety of simple and intuitive challenges.

Betson Takes On New Game In BBH Safari; Moves Ahead With CoinUp, F&F:Drift Kits
Larisa Jayne Shewczyk
CARLSTADT, NJ (May 2008) — New safari theme extends popular Big Buck Hunter coin-operated videogame franchise, providing operators with new terrain and targets for profits. Also new: upgrades for the CoinOp online tournament system and The Fast and The Furious: Drift driving game, created by Raw Thrills/Play Mechanix.

California Trade Members Urged To Combat Proposed Entertainment Tax
Marcus Webb
SACRAMENTO, CA (May 14, 2008) — California’s “amusement, gambling, and recreation” industries should be subject to at least $650 million in new annual taxes, according to Dr. Judy Chu, chair of the California State Board of Equalization. On April 21, Chu sent leading state lawmakers a proposal to raise nearly $2.7 billion by imposing new taxes on a broad range of goods and services. In response this week, Richard Scherer of the Pelican Group called upon Golden State trade members to form a coalition to head off what he termed “a potentially disturbing movement to tax our businesses.”

Hackers Lift Credit Card Information From D&B’s, Says U.S. DOJ
IRVING, TX (May 14, 2008) — At least a dozen stores in the Dave & Buster’s chain, headquartered here, were victims of a five-month computer hacking scheme between May and August of 2007 that stole thousands of credit card numbers. The ring inflicted – at a minimum – hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses to legitimate financial institutions, federal prosecutors said Monday. The U.S. Department of Justice has charged two foreigners and one U.S. citizen with the crime. All three suspects are in custody, the first two in Europe, and the third in Miami.

Maryland Bans Video Slots; Operators Move To Form Association
Marcus Webb
BALTIMORE (April 2008) — Maryland operators, distributors and manufacturers are working to form a state association, in response to a new wave of legislation banning slots-style amusement devices. In response to the first bill’s passage, some 30 amusements industry members met on April 18 in the offices of Betson Distributing here to consider forming a state association. Its first mission, they said, would be to defend the legal status of slot-style videogames.

Pace-O-Matic Debuts Legal Payout Skill Game For New York

NORCROSS, GA (May 29) — Pace-O-Matic Inc. said Betson Enterprises has agreed to represent its new Moxie Mania Empire Edition, a skill game for New York State's tavern market that pays out cash prizes. Betson is hosting three spotlight shows featuring the game on June 4 at Betson Advance (Syracuse); on June 5 at the Hampton Inn (Albany); and on June 6 at corporate headquarters (Carlstadt, NJ). State approves new game… [full story]

Rock The Vote/TouchTunes Survey Garners Over 72,000 Responses; Jobs And Economy Lead Issues Among Jukebox Patrons
NEW YORK CITY (May 22, 2008) — TouchTunes Corp. reported that its Rock the Vote survey gathered more than 72,000 responses, with 41% of participants saying that jobs and the economy are their leading issues in this year’s presidential race. The survey ran on TouchTunes jukeboxes in bars nationwide between April 28 and May 11.

Sega Rolls Out Primeval Hunt Deluxe Shooter
Larisa Jayne Shewczyk

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL (May 2008) — Sega Amusements U.S.A. debuted the final production version of its deluxe Primeval Hunt videogame, a first-person shooter that is appealing because it does not promote or depict violence toward humans. [full story]

Touchscreen Videogames Face Evolving Market, Operators Say
Marcus Webb
U.S.A. (May 2008) — Touchscreen videogames, a crucial category for tavern operators in the past decade, is holding its own in a challenging market, industry members told VT. But as the tavern market and customer expectations both continue to evolve, they said, countertops are increasingly hard-pressed to maintain profitability, player interest and location support. [full story]

Bulk Vending
Hershey Debuts Bulk Vending Program During NBVA Show
Hank Schlesinger
LAS VEGAS (May 2008)  — The Hershey Co., one of the most recognizable names in confectionaries, is reentering the bulk vending market. The candy giant is now offering three of its best-known product lines for direct sale to bulk vendors, and will provide display cards for them.

NBVA Sees Lean Bulk Show Turnout, Elects Chilton President
Hank Schlesinger
LAS VEGAS (May 2008) — A generous assortment of new products and equipment, diverse educational lineup and the election of new officers offset a weak turnout at National Bulk Vendors Association recent trade show and convention. The NBVA elected Randy Chilton, Coinstar, president.

Editorial: Vending
EDITORIAL: Fussin’, Feudin’ And Fightin’
Tim Sanford

The National Automatic Merchandising Association’s board of directors has sent out a letter calling for operators to be reasonable in their expectations of a trade association’s ability to resolve business-relationship conflicts, specifically the antagonism that periodically builds between operators and bottlers. Apparently, there are vendors who want NAMA to seek repeal of the Soft Drink Interbrand Competition Act (1980) and generally become more adversarial toward soft drink bottlers. The board points out that a trade association cannot legally involve itself in competitive disputes within an industry, and explains that NAMA has done much to provide a forum and make its good offices available for dispute resolution....by TIM SANFORD

Editorial: Music and Games
EDITORIAL: ‘Happy Talk’ Versus Real Optimism
Marcus Webb

Recently, VT columnist and vending pioneer Allan Gilbert described an operator who was depressed over the U.S. economy – and deeply worried about his own prospects (see VT, March). Gilbert pointed out that this operator’s company remained strong, with earnings and ROI well above national averages. The operator “was facing a crisis of confidence,” Gilbert concluded, not a true crisis of circumstance. Gilbert went on to say that tough times represent opportunities for savvy operators, who increase market share at the expense of less-competent, less-aggressive competitors.s...by: MARCUS WEBB

MilkPEP Taps PGI’s Brown As Milk Mustache Vendor
Tim Sanford
WASHINGTON, DC (MAY 2008) — Mike Brown, operations vice-president for PGI Services (Salt Lake City) is the most recent vending professional chosen to don the renowned Milk Mustache.

Guest Columns
THE NEW MATH FOR OPERATORS: Defining ‘Market Value’ In Today’s Industry Is Vital In Selling A Business
by Marc Rosset, President, PVC Inc
Selling your vending business is much more complicated than selling your vehicle or your home, both financially and emotionally. This is your life’s work. Many operators who do not understand how to determine true market value go directly to their competitors to propose a sale – and they are inevitably disappointed in the offer, if they even get one. There are several facts operators need to be aware of to assess accurately a business’s value, particularly in today’s problematic economy …By MARC ROSSET

Venditalia Gets Under Way At Italy’s Milan Fairgrounds
MILAN, Italy (May 21) — Venditalia 2008 opened its doors here on Wednesday, May 21. The show features some 300 exhibits from around the world, and is expected to attract more than 10,000 national and international trade visitors.

Upfront with the Publisher
UPFRONT: If We Believe In Our Businesses, We Have A Responsibility Beyond Our Own Self-interest To Defend And Preserve Them
Alicia Lavay

The rising cost of commodities has been on everyone’s mind lately. But when you’re the operator or merchant who is forced to implement price increases as a result, you are confronted with a whole slew of potential roadblocks....by:ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES

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