Friday, March 23, 2018 | Today's Vending Industry News
Smart Software Marks Name Change With Donations To Local Organizations

Posted On: 9/15/2017

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EFFINGHAM, IL -- Smart Software reports that its rebranding has produced unanticipated benefits for local charitable organizations. The 20-year-old company, a leader in route and service management programming, was formerly known as Amusement Smart. It recently was acquired by Effingham, IL's J&J Ventures and has undertaken a complete brand and logotype refresh. Its use of SMART stands for Service Management And Route Tracking.

"We travel throughout the country exhibiting at trade shows for amusement operators, independent ATM deployers and other field-service-related conferences," said Smart Software national sales director Nathan McQuillen. "At these events, we hand out giveaways as promotional items, and we always donate a TSA-approved Ogio backpack for raffles and auctions." This useful merchandise is imprinted with the company's name and logotype, and the change in company name left Smart with a substantial quantity of back stock bearing the previous brand.

"Luckily, we were able to donate pens, pencil bags, totes, folders and backpacks to several local charity organizations in our hometown," McQuillen reported. His first visit was to the Effingham Public Library -- "great timing, as the library had just put out a call for tote bag donations for a new program they are starting," he explained. Library volunteer Colby Higgs received the donation with pleasure.

The next stop was the local office of the Court Appointed Special Advocates service, which provides trained volunteers to advocated for the best interests of abused and neglected children in the Effingham County Circuit Court system. The Smart executive met with Jennifer Pummill, volunteer coordinator at CASA of Effingham County. The Smart merchandise donation was sufficient not only for CASA, but also for the Central Grade School's third-grade teachers. Another beneficiary was Effingham Fish, an interfaith volunteer group striving to enhance the quality of life for less-fortunate county residents. (Fish takes its name from the secret symbol representing a Greek acronym, used by early Christians to recognize one another). The Effingham organization was established in 1970.

J&J Ventures is an 87-year-old operating company. Today, it runs two divisions, J&J Ventures Amusements (providing dart games, pool tables, jukeboxes and other leisure-time equipment), and J&J Ventures Gaming, one of the first licensed gaming terminal operators in Illinois serving licensed establishments in the state. The company also operates automated teller machines.

About a decade ago, J&J teamed up with System Development Services (also headquartered in Effingham) to develop route management software for J&J's four-state operation. The result, Amusement Smart, was released in 2009 (see VT, November 2012). It enables operators to track many types of equipment using different types of payment systems, placed under varying arrangements in locations with a range of municipal tax and license laws. It incorporates route optimization, service-call tracking and analysis, and customer relationship management features.

Smart Software's system consists of five modules: ATM, Amusement, Service Management, Customer Relationship Management, and a mobile interface for users and technicians in the field. The service module, which is supplied only with the ATM and amusement modules, has been developed and used over the past two decades. The company's ATM Smart took runner-up honors for most innovative new product at the ATM Industry Association's 2014 ATMIA convention in Orlando, FL.

HAPPY ENDING: Promotional items branded for Smart Amusement were made obsolete when the company became Smart Software after its acquisition by J&J Ventures. Rather than discard it, Smart offered it to area community services with a need for backpacks, totes, pencil cases and folders. Above left, Smart's Nate McQuillen turns over a consignment to Effiingham, IL, public library volunteer Colby Higgs (l.). At right, Jennifer Pummill of the city's Court Appointed Special Advocates service to assist abused and neglected children accepts the always-useful specialty products.