DALLAS -- The National Bulk Vendors Association's upcoming convention and trade show, again collocated with Amusement Expo International, promises to have one of the strongest educational programs, continuing a four-year-long trend on the industry seminar circuit. NBVA's 2017 convention and Amusement Expo will take place at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel and Dallas Convention Center from March 14 to 16, with two separate educational programs, one focused on bulk vending and the other on amusements, planned for Tuesday, Mar. 14, at the hotel. NBVA's program begins with breakfast at 8 a.m. (lunch will also be provided).
For its program, NBVA will attempt to bring together bulk vending's most knowledgeable professionals, who will address the industry's current issues and challenges. "The preshow seminars have really become a major motivator for people to attend the show," said NBVA president Steve Schechner, Capital Vending (Florence, AL). "We've found that people in the industry not only enjoy getting together with their peers to network before the show floor opens, but they're learning practical things they can take back to their businesses."
The NBVA president predicted that this year's seminar program will provide the "real-life" detail that operators can take back to their offices and routes. A main presenter himself, Schechner will be updating seminar-goers on the Food and Drug Administration's labeling regulations that require bulk vending companies to comply with the agency's calorie-disclosure rule that went into effect on Dec 1.
"It's very important for our industry to understand the new regulations that are now law," he said. "I will be there in Dallas to explain the new law, the latest developments and answer any questions our membership may have." According to the regulations, specifically section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act, operators with 20 or more machines must include the calorie count of the vended product, serving size and contact information on or near machines.
Another featured presenter, Frank Campbell of Wholesale Vendors of Texas (Houston), will conduct a workshop on coinage conversions for coin mechanisms. He will explain and demonstrate simple and inexpensive ways of converting coin mechs from 25¢ to 50¢.
Also scheduled to present is Jim Chapman of BMI Merchandise, a leading provider of redemption prizes. Chapman, who will be hosting a talk on skill crane merchandising, is a highly regarded expert in the segment.
Additional presenters are Scott Ausmus, National Entertainment Network (Broomfield, CO), who will talk about the history of bulk vending, and David Kochan, DK Vending (Atlanta), who will offer some technology-based productivity tips for small operations. Dan Platte, D&L Vending Inc. (Farmers Branch, TX), and Kevin Shambaugh, Far West Distributors (Everett, WA), will lead a session that will uncover five moneymaking ideas.
Bringing the seminar program to a close is the Industry Bull Session followed by the Most Innovative Operator contest. Although introduced just a few years ago, the competition in which bulk vending operators present ideas for a chance to win a cash prize has become a favorite that tops off the daylong educational program. Last year, Brian Angell of Angell Vending Services (Golden, CO) won the contest for inventing a coin mechanism that allows for vend prices at either $1.25 or $1.50. His invention, or modification, involved disassembling a standard $1 mech, then carefully altering the wheel to make room for the additional coinage.
"With our industry facing so many challenges, the NBVA is more important than ever," Schechner said. "The seminar program and show are cannot-miss opportunities to meet and share strategies about machine upgrades, merchandising and regulations."
The trade show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Wednesday and Thursday. A ribbon-cutting ceremony opening the show takes place at 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday at the convention center (Hall D). NBVA will hold its membership meeting and breakfast on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. On Wednesday night, NBVA will host its annual awards dinner from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Both events take place in the Chaparral Room on the 38th floor of the Dallas Sheraton. Thursday on the show floor, the association will hold its scholarship raffle drawing.
Amusement Expo International is owned by the American Amusement Machine Association and the Amusement and Music Operators Association. This will be the seventh consecutive year that the National Bulk Vendors Association will collocate its trade show with Amusement Expo. Laser Tag Convention, organized by the Laser Tag Museum (Louisville, KY), also collocates with expo.
Information on Amusement Expo International is posted at amusementexpo.org. More information about NBVA's agenda is available at nbva.org.