DESTIN, FL -- The Southeastern Vending Association convention drew its largest attendance since 2007, according to SEVA chairman Geoff Paul, president of Excelso Coffee Co. The convention united members of the National Automatic Merchandising Association state councils from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi here at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort from Aug. 4 to 6.
"The oppressive Florida heat, oil threat, and an unstable economic environment couldn't keep the largest attendance in three years away from Destin for the SEVA meeting," said Paul. "The positives of SEVA -- entertainment, keynote speakers, networking -- all presented in a unique family atmosphere is the recipe that allows SEVA's future to be as bright as the sands on the beach."
Keynote speakers included NFL pro Archie Manning, college basketball analyst and motivational speaker Mark Adams, and comedy juggling duo the Passing Zone, who put a unique spin on the power of partnership.
NAMA president and chief executive Rich Geerdes and senior vice-president of government affairs Ned Monroe delivered an update on the association's strategic priorities, including the current status of federal legislative issues affecting the industry.
In addition, SEVA suppliers and operators gathered for a special session to discuss school vending restrictions in their states and the measures they're taking to address them within their own businesses.
Industry members had the opportunity to mix and mingle at a 1950s sock hop complete with costume contests, hula hooping and a tattoo parlor. A golf tournament, beach volleyball tournament and sponsor appreciation reception rounded out the festivities.