New England Vending Associations Hold Annual Meet; Larry Lathrop Wins Wishart Award

Posted On: 7/21/2016

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TAGS: 2016 New England vending meeting, vending, Larry Lathrop Lathrop Vending, Mark Lathrop, Todd Hedrich, Harry Wishart Award, Pine Tree Vending Association, Connecticut Vending Association, Massachusetts Vending Association, New Hampshire Refreshment Association, Rhode Island Vending Association, Vermont Vending Association

Larry Lathrop, vending
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON: Mark Lathrop (l.) is joined by master of ceremonies Todd Hedrich (r.) of Hedrich Vending Co. (Presque Isle, ME), in presenting Harry Wishart Award to his father, Larry Lathrop of Lathrop Vending (Uncasville, CT). Mark Lathrop was last year's winner.
ROCKPORT, ME -- The Pine Tree Vending Association (Maine) hosted this year's joint meeting of the New England vending associations, June 17-19 at Samoset Resort here. A highlight was the presentation the Harry Wishart Award to Larry Lathrop of Lathrop Vending (Uncasville, CT).

The Father's Day weekend extravaganza brought together 200 industry professionals and their family members from the vending associations representing Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The annual event, hosted by a different association each spring, also draws industry members from other parts of the country.

New England vending operators, suppliers, brokers and distributors were brought up to date on the latest news impacting their businesses, including sugary beverage and bottle bills and GMO labeling legislation that went into effect on July 1 in Vermont.

Steve Foley of the Massachusetts Vending Association informed members that a judge on June 1 had ruled that the annual $10 per vending machine licensing fee that operators are required to pay in Massachusetts will remain in effect, despite opposition and a lawsuit by his vending company and MVA. | READ MORE

National Automatic Merchandising Association (Chicago) regional legislative director Sheree Edwards brought industry members up to speed on NAMA's health initiatives and long-anticipated calorie disclosure regulations that will go into effect Dec. 1.

Another highlight was the presentation of the annual Harry Wishart Award, given to a person who has exemplified the ideals of the late vend broker pioneer by working with the group as a whole towards building a better and stronger vending industry in New England. Last year's winner, Mark Lathrop of Lathrop Vending Co. (Uncasville, CT) selected his father, Larry Lathrop, as this year's recipient.

Larry began as a route driver more than 40 years ago. He took business classes at night while supporting his family, and worked his way up to ownership. He has held the position of president of the Connecticut Vending Association and served on its board. He has also testified on the industry's behalf at the state capital.

"Last year, I stood up here speechless. This year, I could go on and on about the man who afforded me the opportunity to have had this award. I never would've been considered for it, if I hadn't watched him my entire life," said Mark Lathrop in honoring his father. "He has a work ethic that is unmatched, a love for the business, that his own father created, a drive to always do better, and a heart of gold. I watched him walk up here last year and thought, 'Man, my dad absolutely deserves this award ... I'm so proud of him...' And then he handed it to me. I was honored, but I did not deserve to receive this award before he did."

Past recipients of the Harry Wishart Award are Rob Tappen (2000); Mike Campbell (2001); Ed Jones (2002); Ed Dooley (2003); Todd Hedrich (2004); Allan Gilbert (2005); Larry Cohen (2006); Howard Michaels (2007); Lloyd "Bud" Willey Jr. (2008); Loren Athearn (posthumously, 2009); Eric Mueller (2010); Melissa Johnson (2011); Steve Foley (2012); Dennis Surprenant (2013); Jeff Terban (2014); and Mark Lathrop (2015).

Micromarket manufacturers 365 Retail Markets and Avanti Markets set up self-checkout stores, which were available throughout the weekend to provide the group with free refreshments, compliments of industry suppliers. This gave operators a chance to experience the fast-growing self-checkout concept at first hand.

Beyond business, New England vending operators and suppliers and their families had time to relax and interact in a host of recreational activities and social events, including a boat cruise and golf tournament along with dinners and entertainment.

Next year's combined New England meeting, hosted by the Connecticut Vending Association, will take place June 1-4 at the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina in Newport, RI.

2016 New England vending meeting
BUSINESS AND PLEASURE: The Samoset Resort in Rockport, ME, provided a picturesque, family-friendly backdrop for this year's combined meeting of New England's vending associations over Father's Day weekend.