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Machines: Good Servants, Bad Masters
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 6, June 2017
There has been talk about how technology is changing the future, and this has been great news for our industries (perhaps especially micromarkets), but somehow I feel that an important human element has been overlooked... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Not Just Convenience
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 5, May 2017
Over the decades, there have been a number of suggestions for replacing the term "vending" with something less specific, with fewer connotations of the rustbelt factory. None had caught on. Vending certainly is a "convenience service," but it's a unique and distinctive one, and it should be celebrated... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Sowing The Seeds Of Automation
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2017
I have been receiving more calls than usual from companies inquiring about the vending industry, and how they might adapt a product or service to meet the needs of today's operator. "Cashierless convenience" seems to be a trend, and a lot of savvy businesspeople want to get in on it. Amazon especially wants a piece of this market. Can you say micromarket? by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

What Makes The Difference?
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 3, March 2017
This year's F2FEC idea exchange session in Atlanta emphasized differentiation as a key to building loyalty and repeat business. I believe that having the courage to be yourself is a straightforward way to differentiate yourself from a crowd of game-players when seeking to attract customers' attention... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Complaints Are Gifts That Keep On Giving
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 2, February 2017
I had occasion to remember the popular book, "A Complaint is a Gift" (Dr. Janelle M. Barlow and Claus Moller, Oakland, CA, 2008) when I read a negative review on Facebook. It was posted by a disgruntled subscriber -- or former subscriber... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Office Redesign Needs The Vending Operators' Advice
Issue: Vol. 57, No. 1, January 2017
As a trade magazine covering the vending, refreshment service and away-from-home amusement industry for more than five decades, we often are asked to identify emerging trends and consumer drivers. One theme that has become central to these inquiries might be called "The Workplace of the Future"... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

History Repeating
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 12, December 2016
As we come to the close of another year, it's natural to reflect on what we've accomplished, where we are going and whether we've stayed on course. While this industry has experienced a profound upheaval over the past decade, its structural underpinnings remain unchanged... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Communication Catalysts
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 11, November 2016
The theme of this year's Vistar Mid-Atlantic Open House in Atlantic City, NJ, was the proliferation of "healthy" items that meet the nutritional criteria of the company's "Good to Go" program... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Communication Requires Mutual Respect
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 10, October 2016
Observing the heated presidential debates has been entertaining, to say the least, not unlike watching a reality television show. I found myself anticipating each exchange to see who would throw the next stone, what kind of stone it would be and how the opponent would retaliate. ... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

No Gain Without Pain: Learning From Mistakes
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 9, September 2016
In the 28 years I have been with Vending Times, I have seen many business opportunities -- some of them "blue sky" promotions -- and have heard many accounts of the diverse pathways along which operators have gotten started in vending. And some hopeful entrepreneurs were able to make lemonade from "biz-op" lemons... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Preparing For Higher Labor Costs
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 8, August 2016
Agitation for a higher minimum wage, and new Labor Department rules for "hourly" workers, will have consequences for employers. The outcome is likely to be greater interest in productivity improvement and automation, which may erode employment... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

You Can't Know A Book By Its Cover
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 6, June 2016
Office coffee service is attracting supplier attention as demand for specialty coffee products continues to surge. Simple sales analysis that classifies products according to "channels" can miss great opportunities in businesses like OCS that overlap several channels without actually falling into any of them... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

OneShow Picks Up The Pace
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 5, May 2016
NAMA's 2016 OneShow continued the event's steady rebound, with more than 70 first-time exhibitors.This reminds us that there's real value in an industry-specific exhibition. As valuable as the Internet is as a component of ab effective communication program, face-to-face interaction and "tire-kicking" is more vital than ever in marketing... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

'Shark Tank' Discovers Vending
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 4, April 2016
It's an exciting time to be in the vending business, and it seems that ABC-TV "Shark Tank" hosts agree with me. Costars Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec will headline the general session at next week's NAMA OneShow in Chicago. But the real excitement happened last month, when Vengo Labs founders Brian Shimmerlik and Steven Bofil negotiated brilliantly for a $2 million deal... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

The Greatest Generation: Remembering Walter Reed
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 3, March 2016
When I joined Vending Times as an assistant editor in 1988, our editor, Tim Sanford, spoke very highly of a man named Walter Reed. He mentioned that Walter was one of a number of remarkable people who really had put the vending association on the map... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

One Hand Cannot Wash Itself
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 2, February 2016
In our February issue, we share the success story of Ken Frohlich, an operator who runs Pristine Springs Water Co. in Kingsport, TN. One of the things that struck me about Frohlich's narrative is that he credits much of his success to the many industry veterans who have helped him along the way... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Come Together - Right Now
Issue: Vol. 56, No. 1, January 2016
I always find it interesting to look back on what has started to trend in our industry, and then to watch those novelties mature and become familiar over time. VT has been reporting on these changes for more than half a century, and the ones that caught on are now among the tools that allow us to compete with other convenience and entertainment channels... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Misconception Is Not Reality
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 12, December 2015
Small businesses often are overlooked for the wrong reasons. Customers assume that prices will be higher at a small business than at a corporate chain store, just as they ignore the amenities that many small businesses offer such as customer care, inventory variety and community support. Most of these assumptions are wrong, but it is difficult to explain this to people who have been corrupted by "consumerism" ... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

The Future Is Ours To Shape
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 11, November 2015
Believe or not, the summer of 2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of the beloved 1980s science-fiction film Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox. It is now 2015, and many news media outlets have been discussing how accurate those predictions actually were... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

It's All About That Brew
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 10, October 2015
Our October issue is headed to the National Automatic Merchandising Association's 2015 Coffee, Tea & Water show, which opens in Washington, DC, on Nov. 2. You might be reading this column as you prepare to travel there, or even at the conference itself. CTW has grown into a first-rate forum for vending and OCS operators, and its evolution continues to parallel the industry itself. Here's what's on tap... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Pay It Forward
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 9, September 2015
Keeping records that include proof of purchase, date of delivery and warranty details, updated with the item's present use, dates of preventive maintenance and details of repairs should be among the fundamentals of running a vending business... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Better Together: Vending And Leisure
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 8, August 2015
One man's dilution is another's solution... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Savoring Sweet Opportunity: Snack And Candy Vending Trends
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 6, June 2015
Consumers today are demanding "healthier" snacks that combine a wider variety of flavors and on-the-go appeal with main-meal attributes. NCA's Sweets & Snacks Expo highlighted the opportunity that this trend offers us... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Full Speed Ahead
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 5, May 2015
There was a lot of excitement leading up to this year's NAMA OneShow, which, I must say, lived up to all the advance publicity. And on the heels of the successful Amusement Expo and NBVA Show in March, we all have good reason to be encouraged... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

Spring Has Sprung
Issue: Vol. 55, No. 4, April 2015
I write this column in the wake of a successful collocated Amusement Expo and NBVA show, and will be on my way to Las Vegas for the National Automatic Merchandising Association OneShow as this issue hits your mailbox... by Alicia Lavay
Author: Alicia Lavay

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