The 2009 VENDING TIMES Buyers Guide and Directory showcases resources that are in demand by the full-line vending, OCS, foodservice, music, games and bulk vending trades in a single publication. It is unique in its scope, representing the vast number of manufacturers and suppliers that serve a vibrant sales and service industry comprised of merchandise vending and coin machine operators of all kinds.
This year's Buyers Guide makes use of the same rationalized format we adopted seven years ago. A single entry for each listed company appears in the main body, the Alphabetical Listing, beginning on Page 91. Seven main indices precede this alphabetical listing: Major Machine manufacturers; Mini-Market, OCS & CSV manufacturers; Specialty Machine manufacturers; Vendible Product suppliers; Allied Product & Service suppliers; Music & Games manufacturers and suppliers; and Trade Associations. Each index contains the names of companies relevant to each category and directs the reader to the alphabetical listing for more details.
More than 2,000 companies are cataloged by the types of products and services they offer. For example, the reader will find full-line "candy/snack/pastry" machine manufacturers in the "Major Machines" manufacturers index, under that subcategory, and likewise "cashless payment systems" providers in "Allied Products," and so on. The directory's Product Index on Page 61 further aids the user by listing the 200 subcategories organized under the seven main classifications.
Equipment distributors and vend product sales companies – the regional and local supply lines to operators – are once again listed in their own sections, organized geographically for added convenience. In the Distributors section, we specify the types of equipment they sell and support (vending, music and games, OCS and money handling). Following is a department for Vending Product Sales Specialists, which lists product brokers and warehouses serving merchandise vendors.
The Buyers Guide begins on Page 41 with VT's Major Machine Specifications, a practical guide to full-line electronically controlled vending machines currently in production. A new format for our specs allowed us to contain the same amount of machine data as last year in 57% less space. It shows essential information on some 100 new vending machines in a side-by-side format that allows readers to compare features of 16 different models on a single page. Vending machines are arranged according to products vended: candy/snack/pastry; cold drinks (including milk and other perishable types); hot beverages; food – refrigerated and frozen; and combination refrigerated food/beverage/food. We also list the latest money-changing machines, designed specifically for vending and amusement applications, and the newest jukeboxes.
Our annual Buyers Guide appears as part of the July issue (Vol. 49, No. 7); the monthly news and features section can be found between Pages 8 and 38. Including the latest industry news alongside our annual directory allows us to continue our monthly reporting without missing a beat. Our vending section offers several must-read features, including a piece that explores the service life of vending machines as well as interviews with top executives at YoNaturals and Bellis Technology. A comprehensive report on Harris Interactive's latest study on workplace beverage consumption highlights a combined coffee and food segment. VT's acclaimed Music & Games and Bulk Vending departments are chock-a-block with timely items. A profile of the Smile Exchange, a Connecticut-based bulk vending operation, concludes our coverage this month.
The Buyers Guide is among several winning media products for the vending and coin-op trades that VT offers. During the directory's production cycle, more than a dozen Ahead of the Times email newsletters, carrying breaking news, were created and dispatched. We also launched a new website design, expanding content and improving the user interface.
In January, VENDING TIMES, which has earned a sterling reputation as a premier tabloid-size trade journal over almost five decades, underwent a substantial redesign. Our longtime 10-1⁄4" x 13" "tabloid" format transitioned into a handier, nominally "letter" size and shape, cutting our "trim" size by 30% and providing a cleaner, more contemporary look. Skyrocketing paper and mailing costs, followed by the Great Recession, which came at a time when magazines and newspapers were already struggling to adapt to the Internet age, have put immense pressure on news publications to find savings and at the same time continue to offer quality journalism to readers. Our readership has responded positively to VT's change, and the savings will allow us to further invest in trade journalism.
We remain devoted to our readers and to improving our print and online media offerings. Don't hesitate to email your suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Manufacturers and suppliers will find a questionnaire for next year's Buyers Guide issue on our downloads page.