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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

UPFRONT: Everyone – Young And Old – Can Benefit From Mentors.
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 4, April 2007
It finally dawned on me… I can’t do everything myself. Oh, the pressures we put on ourselves when running a business in our quest for perfection...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: When You’re Through Changing, You’re Through!
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 3, March 2007
If you’ve been reading my columns for the past year, you have probably noticed that I often comment on the changes taking place in the world, and attempt to understand how these relate to the transformations we see happening in our industry...By ALICIA LAVAY-KERTES
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: An Industry And World Undergoing Transformation
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 2, February 2007
I had the pleasure of attending the Amusement Trades Exhibition International in London, England at the end of January. Although I’d been able visit this show for 16 consecutive years, the distractions of business ownership forced me to skip the past two. Yes, I too am guilty of getting bogged down by the daily grind, and need to be reminded of why I am in business in the first place. The ATEI show was an excellent reminder …by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: It Makes A Difference To Be Regarded As A Good Supplier
Issue: Vol. 47, No. 1, January 2007
By the time you read this column, I hope that you will have recovered from your food hangovers and other consequences of seasonal indulgences. I am writing this in the aftermath of our own Vending Times holiday party, so those consequences are in the forefront of my mind...by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: We Must Learn From The Past And Embrace New Opportunities In The New Year Ahead
Issue: Vol. 46, No. 12, December 2006
As 2006 comes to a close, it’s natural to reflect on the past 12 months and ponder the new year ahead. What have we accomplished? What might we do differently in the future? What untapped opportunities might we find as we go forward? What are our short-term and long-term goals? How will we get from here to there? by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: An Industry In Decline, Or Untapped Opportunity?
Issue: Vol. 46, No. 11, November 2006
Like many of you, I’ve recently returned from the NAMA National Expo in Orlando. The how was informative and entertaining, and it’s always great to catch up with old friends and sample the new products at the exhibits. I thought about devoting this space to kudos to NAMA for a job well done, but I’d be remiss not to mention that the exhibit was smaller this year, and there were fewer machine manufacturers…by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

UPFRONT: Who Will Patronize Vending Machines In 5 Or 10 Years?
Issue: Vol. 46, No. 10, October 2006
I've just returned from East Lansing, MI, where VT’s editor-in-chief, Tim Sanford, Elliot Maras of Automatic Merchandiser and I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of students at Michigan State University on the historical and future perspectives of the vending industry...by Alicia Lavay-Kertes
Author: Alicia Lavay

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