Atlantic Coast Exposition Packs The House, Honors Veterans At Sold-Out 2019 Show

Posted On: 10/23/2019

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MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- More than 1,000 operators and suppliers from across the U.S. and a sold-out show floor with 80 exhibiting companies set the stage for what Atlantic Coast Exposition organizers are calling the “best show ever.”

The Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation was the site for the 64th annual ACE, held Oct. 8-10 (Thursday-Saturday), where operators and suppliers from all across North America gathered to take part in educational sessions, see and show new products and equipment and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of this popular seaside resort.

The theme: “Mission:  ACE -- Honoring Veterans” proved to be the most popular theme in the new era -- with many exhibitors showing their patriotism.  The exhibit hall completely sold out in May and industry professionals from dozens of states and Canada took part in this convention that is the largest show of its kind on the East Coast. 

On Thursday, the renewed Golf Tournament took place at Myrtlewood golf course under sunny skies and perfect conditions. 

Friday’s educational lineup kicked off with a legislative update by National Automatic Merchandising Association senior vice-president of external affairs Eric Dell. A session on Technology Culture covered key topics including Technology’s Impact on the Future of Food Service, presented by Evan Jarecki of Gimme Vending; Integrating Technologies to Reduce Friction and Enable Growth, led by Bill Bartholic of USA Technologies. Crane Connectivity Solutions’ Sharon Peyer addressed The Future of Self Service Retail: Markets, Data and Consumer Empowerment and NAMA’s Dell discussed Privacy and What You Should Know. 

Networking opportunities included a celebratory USO Variety Show honoring the nation’s veterans with special entertainment by patriotic music group Letters from Home, dinner and meet and greet with veterans and NFL Superbowl Star Rocky Bleier of the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Saturday was the popular “ACE Corn Hole Pool Party” and throughout the week, a Fox Hole Pub provided beverages for participants.

Rocky Bleier keynoted the Saturday ACE Stars and Stripes awards breakfast, where he inspired showgoers with his story to “Be the Best You Can Be.”  Preceding Bleier’s address, awards were given to the following:

>> NCVA Vendor of the Year:  Chris Taylor, Canteen

>> NCVA Supplier of the Year:  Mike Mitchell (veteran), Vistar

>> The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Randy Laster, recently retired from Pepsi Bottling Ventures. 

A plaque was also presented to Lance Roper (veteran) to honor his year-long commitment and valued leadership as the 2019 ACE Planning Committee chair. 

First Place Booth awards were given to companies in three different categories that embraced the “Honoring Veterans” show theme.

Prizes went to: 

>> Single Booth: Mrs. Freshley’s

>>Multi-Booth: Holiday House

>> Mega-Booth: Vendors Supply

In addition, the committee presented plaques to the highest corporate Diamond-level sponsors whose generous contributions make ACE 2019 a success:  Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, PepsiCo Food Service, USA Technologies, Vendors Supply and Vistar.

ACE donated a truck full of remaining products from the show to the local church community, which distributed them to families in need. ACE donated a Wheelers' Paramill valued at $10,000 to Elite Fitness, a veteran owned gym that provides equal opportunities for fitness regardless of one's ability. 

The ACE Planning Committee began planning ACE 2020 on the Sunday following the show’s closing. Next year’s dates are Oct. 8-10 at Embassy Suites Kingston Plantation which will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the first ACE in 1955.

ACE is cosponsored by the North Carolina Vending Association, South Carolina Vending Association and Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association. TayCar Inc. (Cary, NC) provides administrative services for the ACE Show, and for NCVA and VAMA. Capitol Consultants  (Cayce, SC) provides administrative services for SCVA.

GRAND OPENING: Show organizers and convention participants gather for festive ribbon-cutting that opened the 2019 Atlantic Coast Exposition; ACE 2019 planning committee chairman Lance Roper, Canteen Vending (Columbia, SC) wields the shears. This year's event was the 64th in a storied history, and continued to build on the successes of the past decade.