Vending, Vending Machine, Coin-Op, Coin-Operated, Bulk Vending, National Bulk Vendors Association, Amusements, Automated Retailing, Randy Chilton, Coinstar, Jim Hinton, Oak Manufacturing
LAS VEGAS -- A reinvigorated National Bulk Vendors Association shined at Bally's Casino Las Vegas, where the association held its annual convention and trade show from April16 to 18. The NBVA show exceeded expectations, and drew rave reviews from both operators and exhibitors.
"Surprise! It's clearly a new day at the NBVA," said association president Randy Chilton, Coinstar Inc. (Bellevue, WA) "Spirits were high, exhibitors connected with their key customers and wrote orders, and onsite registration surpassed expectations." Chilton praised Oak Manufacturing's Jim Hinton, NBVA's convention chairman, for putting on a first-class convention.
According to NBVA's official tally, about 282 industry professionals registered for the show, compared with 355 in 2008, a 21% drop. Despite the decline, exhibitors reported strong sales driven by special pricing offers at the show and new merchandise and equipment on the exhibit floor. Twenty-four companies booked a total of 43 booths.
"In comparison to what other conventions are experiencing -- that is attendances down 40% to 50% -- our decrease was not close to that," observed NBVA administrator Kaydee Mooney. "The loss was minimal and expected. We also gained 31 new members."
Months before the show, many in the industry predicted a dismal turnout, but were proven wrong. "I thought the show was surprisingly positive," said VenDynamics' John Nashed. "We went in not sure what to expect. And while the attendance wasn't as great as it was in previous years, the people there were the serious buyers."
Show chairman Hinton added: "Some of the comments I received suggest that many thought it was the best show they ever attended. They loved the open format in which the officers were approachable, and many of the members were excited that that the president took time to talk with them for an extended period and listen to their concerns."
During the convention, the NBVA announced the appointment of Don Goletz of Vendomatic (Frederick, MD) as its new legislative chairman. Goletz, who has been in the bulk vending industry for more than two decades, moved into the post vacated early this month by A&A's Phil Brilliant.
Goletz will primarily focus his attention on sales tax and licensing issues. His experience in dealing with legislative issues includes helping to pass two Maryland state bills, which provided licensing and sales tax relief for bulk vending operators.
The newly formed Toy Safety Committee has been created to handle issues involving toy safety and regulations. It consists of Dax Logue, Brand Vending Products, Jonathan Becker, L.M. Becker & Co.; Brian Kovens of A&A; Kevin Dumphy, SSM Vending (Tempe, AZ); Bill Stone, Flatline Corp.; and Adam Dorfman, Allstar Vending.
Another new committee will focus on attracting and aiding industry newcomers. The Young Bulk Vendors Committee is open to NBVA members under the age of 45 who have less than five years experience in bulk vending. John Honeycutt, Great Dane Cranes (Clearfield, UT), and Glenn Kitnick, Atlas Vending (Lafayette, CO), will oversee the new committee.
A new awards program recognizing the accomplishments of operators, suppliers and machine manufacturers was also new at this year's NBVA convention. This first annual BeeVee awards ceremony was held during the association's annual banquet, held on April 17. Winners were based on votes from NBVA members, and were presented to:
• Allstar Vending's Funky Face Disguises, Best 2" Capsuled Product.
• Brand Vending's Zoomania, Best 1" Capsuled Product.
• Vending Supply inc.'s Sugar Tattoos, Best Temporary Tattoo.
• A&A Global Industries' NFL Ovals, Best Sticker.
• Northwestern's new Super 60, Best Vending Machine.
• Dan Case, Tejas Distributors (Round Rock, Texas), Operator of the Year.
Also new is the President's Award, which recognizes individuals who have shown extraordinary commitment and dedication to the association. Chilton presented the first awards to NBVA administrator Kaydee Mooney; Dax and Laurie Logue, Brand Vending Products; Carl Morcate, VenDynamics; Jim Hinton, Oak Manufacturing; Bernard Schwarzli, Beaver Machine Corp.; and Philip Brilliant, A&A Global.
This year's convention was the first following a major restructuring plan of the National Bulk Vendors Association that began late last year. Part of that plan reassigned several administrative functions previously handled by the association's legal counsel, Morrie Much of Much Shelist Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein P.C. The reorganization was approved in October by the NBVA's board of directors. See story here.
The 2009 convention was intended to showcase the changes that have taken place in the NBVA over the past year, according to sources close to the association, and provide a forum for operators to discuss issues that will guide the association into the future.
"It was very interesting meeting the people on this side of the trade," said Hershey's Rick Mahon, who's been involved in full-line vending during most of his career at Hershey. "I found a lot of enthusiasm with the membership and we got a good response with our display cards that we're supplying to the trade at no charge. We made a lot of contacts at the show."
Planning for NBVA's 2010 convention and trade show is already underway, with an event tentatively scheduled for April 6-10, with exhibits open April 8-10, at the Ramada Celebration Resort and Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
"There are many hurdles ahead, but the new NBVA is well positioned to deal with them in a swift manner," Chilton said.