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What's Next?
Issue: Vol. 49, No.8, August 2009
It feels like we've been talking about adapting to a new business climate for a long time now. New locations, new products and services to meet changing consumer demands and updated technology that provide tools for efficiency and to help us make sense of it all. I think we all agree that the future will hold a place for the vending, OCS and music and games industries... by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

Stay The Course
Issue: Vol. 49, No.6, June 2009
A few months ago, VT ran an advertisement from a mergers and acquisition company encouraging operators to sell their businesses before it was too late. The message in the ad was to get out while you can, while your business still has value... by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

History Repeating
Issue: Vol. 49, No.5, May 2009
The topic of location-owned equipment has surfaced once again, this time in the amusement and music segment, and – again – has aroused concern within the operator community. As we have free enterprise, this issue isn't ever going away... by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Reliable Sources, And A Place To Turn
Issue: Vol. 49, No.4, April 2009
Not too long ago I was watching one of my favorite talk shows, hosted by political satirist Bill Maher. The topic under discussion was the grim future of the newspaper. It seems that most young people now get their news on the Internet or read blogs to keep them in the know... by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Social Networking: What Does It Mean For Our Service Industries?
Issue: Vol. 49, No.3, March 2009
Recently, after I joined Facebook, one of my contemporaries informed me that he and I are part of "Generation X" while our twentysomething colleagues belong to "Generation Y." I mentioned this to a twentysomething friend and colleague, who responded by... by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Those Who Lie Dormant Are In For A Rude Awakening When The Skies Clear
Issue: Vol. 49, No.2, February 2009
I've got three questions for our industry's suppliers and manufacturers, during these difficult times: (1) Are you in or are you out? (2) Do you still believe in the business of automatic retailing and entertainment? And (3), do you still believe in marketing products and equipment in the vending and amusement channel? by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

NEW YEAR, NEW LOOK: Necessity Is The Mother Of Reinvention
Issue: Vol. 49, No.1, January 2009

VENDING TIMES isn’t exactly launching a new publication, but we are reinventing ourselves to keep pace with an evolving industry. Our new slogan, “the industry is changing and we are, too” will be evident in all we do. Our redesign will be complemented by our well-respected coverage of the vending, coffee service, contract foodservice, music, games and bulk vending industries, and will deliver all the news to which you are accustomed… by Alicia Lavay-Kertes

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Great Marketing Wins Elections, Drives Business
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 12, December 2008

What a remarkable year it has been! Now that the election is over, everyone must agree that Sen. Barack Obama ran a brilliant campaign, whether they like him or not. His winning strategy proved the value of smart marketing and demonstrated that boldness is one of the most important qualities for anyone trying to build brand awareness during uncertain times…by Alicia Lavay-Kertes

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: No Guts, No Glory!
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 11, November 2008

I am a strong believer in the expression “no guts, no glory,” but I am also a realist and know it hasn’t been easy for any of us. We are all keenly aware that every sector of the coin-operated business has been hit hard… By Alicia Lavay-Kertes

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 10, October 2008
People who run trade magazines sometimes are invited to speak, as experts, with prospective suppliers about industry conditions and needs. So when a client recently asked me to address the major issues that have been affecting our industry, and offer suggestions on how we might turn these challenges into opportunities, I was very happy to do so... By Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Go Create Yourself!
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 9, September 2008
NEW YORK CITY (Sept. 2008) — There’s an old story, familiar to anyone who has attended enough sales training seminars, about two competing shoe companies that each sent a salesman to a remote island. Upon their arrival, they found that the inhabitants all went barefoot all the time. One salesman called his home office and said, “This is a really lousy territory. Nobody here wears shoes.” The other one reported, “This is the greatest territory I’ve ever seen! Nobody here wears shoes!”… by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: A Large Pie Means Everyone’s Slice Is Bigger!
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 8, August 2008

NEW YORK CITY (AUGUST 2008) — With the NAMA National Expo and the National Association of Convenience Stores shows coming up, I’ve been thinking about the similarities and differences between merchandise vending and convenience stores. I’ve often wondered why the two industries don’t cooperate more closely. A little history will explain my curiosity… by Alicia Lavay-Kertes

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: As Long As There Is Free Enterprise, Commissions Aren’t Going Away
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 6, June 2008

For vending, amusement and music operators, commissions are a major cost. Nearly all businesses grapple with pricing and cost containment. Commissions are a less widespread issue, but certainly not unique to us. Concessionaires confront a problem that is almost identical to ours… more by Alicia Lavay-Kertes

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: If We Believe In Our Businesses, We Have A Responsibility Beyond Our Own Self-interest To Defend And Preserve Them
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 5, May 2008

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

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Soundly Run Companies That Remain Confident And Invest In The Future Will Survive, And Will Have A Competitive Edge When The Sky Clears
Issue: Vol. 48, No. 4, April 2008
What is happening in the vending and amusement market? How can I strengthen my position in the industry? What is my strategic plan for next year? These are just a few of the questions I’ve heard asked by manufacturers, suppliers and operators alike, and it’s not surprising. The alarming economic environment magnifies the risks associated with running a business – even if there is considerable disagreement on whether the economy actually is slumping – and finding the right answers is a survival skill...by ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

Up Front: We All Need To Make Ourselves Available To Newcomers And Encourage Their Participation
Issue: Vol. 48, No.3, March 2008
By the time you read this column, many of you will be on your way to the National Automatic Merchandising Association Spring Expo or the Amusement Showcase International; both are being held concurrently in Las Vegas at the end of March.  If you’ve never been to either of these events, now’s your chance to check out both shows for the price of one plane ticket...By Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: VT is Investing in the Future, and I Hope Everyone Reading this is Resolved to do the Same.
Issue: Vol. 48, No.2, February 2008
There has been a pervasive lack of confidence in the economy, even before the current recession talk began. However good business may have been, employers have put off rebuilding their staffs to pre-2001 levels. Our industry has not been immune from the effects...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: The Energy And Imagination That Characterize People Like Roger Folz Are Rare And Valuable Qualities
Issue: Vol. 48, No.1, January 2008
When I left for Christmas vacation in late December, our executive editor reminded me that I had forgotten to submit my Upfront column for the issue you are now reading. “Go away and relax,” he said. “Maybe you’ll be inspired to write something while you’re gone.”...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: We All Make Mistakes...But It’s What We Do To Recover That Matters
Issue: Vol. 47, No.12, December 2007

We all make mistakes. It is what we do to recover from those mistakes that leaves a lasting imprint in our customer’s minds ...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES

Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: A Diverse Workforce Reflects A Changing World And Marketplace
Issue: Vol. 47, No.11, November 2007
When the National Automatic Merchandising Association asked me to serve on its newly formed Diversity Awareness Committee, I wasn’t sure what this group hoped to accomplish, or what I could do to help. And, when I told the VT staff about the invitation, they insisted adamantly that the vending, coffee service and music and amusement industries have been ahead of the curve when it comes to inclusion. I was also asked what, exactly, is meant by “diversity?” …By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: The Value Of Trade Publications And Associations, And Their Role In Maintaining The Industry Dialogue, Needs To Be Understood
Issue: Vol. 47, No.10, October 2007
Last month, I was invited to be a guest speaker in Dr. Kasavana’s highly successful V-Commerce course at The School of Hospitality Business at the Eli Broad College of Business, Michigan State University (Lansing). As most of you know, this program was underwritten by the The Foundation of the National Automatic Merchandising Association as part of a long-range plan to foster closer relations between the industry and the academy, to the benefit of both..By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Family-owned businesses confront tough new challenges adapting to our changing vending industry.
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 9, September 2007
Those of you who read my column regularly may have noticed that I often make mention of my father, the late Victor Lavay. My dad was one of our founding partners, and that makes me the “second generation.” Talking about my father in my column is my way of keeping his memory alive and honoring VT’s modest beginnings. I am fortunate to have this forum as a creative outlet...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: There is no reason why we can’t keep the NBPA family together
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 8, August 2007
I was sad to learn that the National Beverage and Products Association has decided not to continue holding its annual trade show. I started attending that event as a full-time VT employee in 1989. It had become an annual road trip for me, my mother and my father – our former publisher, the late Victor Lavay. It was a chance for us to spend quality drive-time together and talk about the industry in my own private tutoring session (while listening to Frank Sinatra)...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: “We have to sell what consumers want to buy. The consumer is king.” –James Terry
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 6, June 2007
Looking back at the recent National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Spring Expo in Las Vegas and the Atlantic Coast Exhibition (ACE) in Myrtle Beach, SC, I’m encouraged by the number of new exhibitors and the surge of positive energy I felt at both trade shows. I hope the energy is contagious, and will adjust the attitudes of the prophets of doom who always pipe up during periods of rapid change...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: The most fitting memorial we can establish to people like Bill Cravens is a commitment to following their example.
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 5, May 2007
In last month’s column I spoke about the importance of mentors, not realizing I would soon lose one of my nearest and dearest. At this year’s Amusement Showcase International in late March, the industry was stunned and saddened by the sudden loss of a charismatic leader, Bill Cravens. Bill was one of my first mentors in the amusement industry, and a very special friend...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

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