ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - The National Beverage & Products Association held its 18th annual convention and trade show here late last month. The wide-ranging educational program covered use of the Internet as a marketing and communications tool, key statistics for gauging business performance, and the techniques employed by the coffee service industry's top sales representatives. The association also recognized longstanding contributions to the industry at its Awards Luncheon.
More than 50 exhibitors showcased a wide range of equipment, products and services for the office refreshments industry, and a lively round of social events provided ample opportunity for networking in a relaxed environment.
The first workshop session was a two-part round table idea exchange, facilitated by Pat Birmingham of Aramark (Pennsauken, PA) with the assistance of James P. Zirakian Jr., D-Zee Ventures (Solomons, MD) and Lowell Shindler, US Coffee (Hicksville, NY). The first half of the session was devoted to the Internet, and participants compared notes on the extent to which they make use of such tools as company websites and e-mail for purposes ranging from lead generation to customer contact and order-taking.
The second half probed the benchmarks coffee service operators can use to assess the performance of their companies, determine their strengths and identify areas on which management should be focusing its attention.
The sales excellence seminar was a panel session moderated by Len Rashkin, Len Rashkin Consulting (Bellmore, NY). Panelists were Edward Baggeson, Atlantic Coffee & Provision (Boston, MA); Kevin Bush, Aramark (Philadelphia, PA); Richard Karsay, Karsay Coffee (Somerset, NJ) and John Merlo, Allied Office Products (New York City).
A highlight of the convention was the presentation of awards and induction of new members into the NBPA Hall of Fame. David Henchel, Corporate Coffee Systems (Westbury, NY) was honored for his four years of effective service as chairman of the Operators Advisory Committee; he also serves as second vice-president of the association.
Inducted into the NBPA Hall of Fame were Al Hacker, Park Avenue Office Services (Dania, FL), and Tim Sanford, VENDING TIMES (New York City). Hacker has been involved in the restaurant, coffee, vending and pure water businesses for more than four decades. His first experience in OCS was gained in Michigan when, as a restaurateur, he was introduced to the Bunn-O-Matic "A10" bottle brewer by Continental Coffee in 1966. Hacker subsequently relocated to Florida, founding Gourmet Coffee Service in 1976. He sold that company to Standard Coffee, and established Park Avenue Office Services in 1993.
Sanford joined VENDING TIMES in 1967 as food editor, after three years' service in the U.S. Army. He encountered coffee service soon thereafter, and has been covering the industry ever since. He is a veteran of the Eastern Coffee Service Association's memorable "Winter Olympics" educational programs in the Catskills. He received the National Coffee Service Association's Gino Braschi Memorial Foundation Award for Journalism in 1994. Sanford now serves as editor-in-chief of V/T.
Receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award was Ben Ginsberg, Vending & OCS (Atlanta, GA), who has been chairman of NBPA's Hall of Fame Committee since its inception almost a decade ago. Ginsberg cofounded American Automatic Merchandiser in 1956, and has been covering the workplace services industry for almost half a century. He is the sixth industry member to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, NBPA's highest honor. Ginsberg also has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Atlantic Coast Exposition and the National Automatic Merchandising Association. He served with the Army Air Force in the Pacific theater during World War II, and is active in the 315th Bomb Wing Association of the 20th Air Force.
The National Beverage & Products Association was formed to reflect the increasing overlap between office coffee service and other suppliers of products and services to people at work, indluding foodservice and vending operations, bottled water distributors and operators of point-of-use water treatment systems. It grew out of the East Coast Coffee Service Association, a multistate umbrella group formed to manage a joint annual trade show; the 2003 exposition was the 18th of these shows.