Blind Vendors Ready Atlantic City BLAST, Collocated With Vistar Northeast Buying Show

Posted On: 8/15/2019

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -- The National Association of Blind Merchants is gearing up for its first-ever Mini BLAST (Business Leadership and Superior Training) conference Sept. 25-27, at Harrah's Resort & Casino in Atlantic City, NJ, in partnership with Vistar Northeast's largest ever Buying Show.

There will be more than 150 exhibitors at Vistar Northeast's show, along with equipment and technology suppliers exclusively participating to show their products and services to BLAST attendees.

"With people becoming more health conscious in their eating habits, our blind entrepreneurs will be able to look for new healthier products to offer for sale as well as learn about the latest trends," said NABM president Nicky Gacos.

Click here to register for BLAST. A room block has been set aside for $99 per night. Click here for reservations or call Harrah's at (888) 516-2215. The group name is RSA and the Group Code is SHO9VVD.

Mini BLAST Agenda:

Wednesday, September 25:

Preconference Workshops

1 p.m. - 3 p.m. "Randolph-Sheppard 101"

Terry Smith, Director
Randolph-Sheppard Training & Technical Assistance
National Association of Blind Merchants

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. "Elected Committee Roundtable: A Q&A with RSA"
(Open to all blind entrepreneurs)

Moderated by Ed Birmingham, Committee Member
Illinois Business Enterprises Program
NABM 2nd Vice President

and

Mike Colbrum, Committee Member
Minnesota Business Enterprises, NABM Board Member

Panelists:
Christine Grassman, Randolph-Sheppard Specialist
Rehabilitation Services Administration

Jim McCarthy, Randolph-Sheppard Specialist
Rehabilitation Services Administration

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. "SLA Roundtable: A Q&A with RSA"

Moderated by Bill Findley, Director

Jesse Hartle, Randolph-Sheppard Program Manager
Rehabilitation Services Administration

General Session

4:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m. Welcome and Introductions

Nicky Gacos, President
National Association of Blind Merchants

Deacon Truesdale, Director
Business Enterprises of New Jersey

Joe Ruffalo, President
National Federation of the Blind of New Jersey

4:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. Keynote Address:

"Innovate or Disintegrate"

David DeNotaris. Chief Inspiration Officer
Sky's the Limit Communications

5:45 p.m. - 6 p.m. "Introducing a New Accessible Micromarket Kiosk"

Kurk Johnson
Three Square Markets

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Educational Networking Session/ Reception

Thursday, September 26

8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m. Breakfast

"Special Remarks"

Nicky Gacos, President
National Association of Blind Merchants

"Welcome to Our Show"

Vistar

State Reports: A representative from each state present will give a two-minute update on activities in their states.

9:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. Break

9:45 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. "Using Your Inner Strength to Break Barriers"

Malcolm Little

10:40 a.m. - 11 a.m. "What's the Latest from the Convenience Services Industry "

Mike Goscinski, Director Federal and State Affairs
National Automatic Merchandising Association

11 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. "Successful Strategies for Customer Service"

11:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. "Randolph-Sheppard Litigations: What's the Latest?"

Brooke Lierman, Attorney
Brown, Goldstein, and Lev

12 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Lunch

Keynote Address:

Heidi Chico, President

Wittern Group

"Potential New Opportunities in Your State"

John Murn, President and CEO
RSA Management Group

"Vending Times: Why It Matters to You"

1:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m. Break

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m. "Randolph-Sheppard: A View From Our Federal Partners"

Jesse Hartle, Randolph-Sheppard Program Manager
Rehabilitation Services Administration

Christine Grassman, Randolph-Sheppard Specialist
Rehabilitation Services Administration

Jim McCarthy, Randolph-Sheppard Specialist
Rehabilitation Services Administration

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m. "The Vending Industry: Where We Are and Where We Are Going"

Dave Mandella and Amanda Sulc

Accent Foods

2:45 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. "Micromarket Trends, Innovations, and Accessibility Solutions"

Mallory Wonoski
365 Markets

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. "Aira: Strategies for Making Micromarkets Accessible"

Marty Watts, Director of Sales
Aira, Instant Access to Information

3:30 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. "PepsiCo's Water Solution"

Scott Stella, National Account Sales Manager

PepsiCo Foodservices

3:45 p.m. - 4 p.m. "Nayax and Blind Vendors -- The Perfect Match: How, What and Why?

Harry Kozlowsky
Nayax

4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Vistar tradeshow

Friday, September 27

8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Vistar tradeshow