ATLANTA -- Ben Ginsberg, who published Vending and OCS and founded American Automatic Merchandiser, died on Aug. 14. He was 86.
Ginsberg was a cofounder of American Automatic Merchandiser (now Automatic Merchandiser) in 1958 with Mike Michael, a fellow veteran of the bottling industry. Most recently, Ginsberg was editor and publisher of Vending and OCS. He founded the trade magazine in 1991 and printed six issues a year until retiring the magazine at the end of 2009 (see story).
A longtime participant in and observer of the vending industry, Ginsberg was among the first journalists to identify the office coffee service business that emerged in the late 1960s.
He is the recipient of numerous awards in recognition of his distinguished service. These include the Barbara Short Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by the Atlantic Coast Exposition in 2000; a Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed by the National Automatic Merchandising Association in 2001; and a Lifetime Achievement Award conferred by the National Beverage & Products Association in 2003. NBPA inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 1996.
This past April, NAMA presented one of its highest honors, Industry Person of the Year, to Ginsberg during the inaugural OneShow in Chicago. And most recently, the the Southeastern Vending Association, which unites NAMA state councils from Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida, presented the SEVA Chairman's Award to Ginsberg.
"[Ben] was an optimist, frequently saying that 'maybe something good will happen,'" said Rebecca Ginsberg, a daughter of the trade publishing veteran.
Ginsberg served in the U.S. Army during World War II in the Pacific. He was an avid sports fan, especially baseball, following the Chicago White Sox and the college football conquests of his alma mater, the University of Georgia.
"In addition to coaching and nurturing the well-being of numerous friends, he liked to grow roses and tomatoes," Rebecca said. "He enjoyed reading all sorts of books and magazines, listening to Mozart, visiting art museums and, above all, having a good time."
Ginsberg is survived by his wife Mary; daughters Rebecca and Karen; and son Stephen, daughter-in-law Marilyn Courtney and grandchildren Benjamin and Jessica Ginsberg.
Upon Ginsberg's retirement last year, VENDING TIMES publisher Alicia Lavay wrote: "When I learned that Ben Ginsberg was closing down his publication, Vending and OCS, I felt nostalgic because it symbolized the end of an era. And that got me thinking a lot about the past, the present and the future -- and, yes, the "Golden Age" of full-line vending and modern coffee service. In my eyes, Ben has always been an industry icon; I wanted to learn more about his history and how he became so successful..." See "Thank You To The Greatest Generation"