MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- The 2014 Atlantic Coast Exposition will be the 60th consecutive event organized by state trade associations in the Southeast. ACE is a joint effort among the North Carolina Vending Association, South Carolina Vending Association and Virginia Automatic Merchandising Association.
The event marks its Diamond Anniversary from Oct. 2 to 4 at the Embassy Suites Kingston Plantation. The theme of the Diamond Anniversary ACE is baseball, and legendary pitcher Tommy John (a veteran of more than a quarter of a century on the diamond) will be a special guest. John, a four-time Major League Baseball All-Star who played for the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees (twice), California Angels and Oakland Athletics, chalked up 288 wins during his long career. He will deliver the keynote address at the eagerly anticipated ACE Awards Breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 4. | SEE STORY
The show's organizers report that operator registrations are up 35% from this time last year, and more hotel rooms have been added to the block.
Exhibitor interest also is running high. The familiar Kensington Ballroom was booked solid in June, and the second phase (Cambridge and Westminster Halls) sold out earlier this month. Phase 3 booths (Pembroke and Winchester) are still available, but going fast, the ACE planners said.
New attractions at the 2014 presentation of ACE include a beer garden sponsored by VendScreen and a new product showcase for exhibitors.
An enhanced education program is being developed to complement the enlarged exhibit. Three timely business sessions are scheduled for Friday, Oct. 3, and two in-depth seminars that require separate registration will be held on the same day.
The scheduled business program leads off at 9 a.m. with a panel discussion and roundtable idea exchange devoted to cashless payments in vending. It will be moderated by Lance Roper, Canteen Vending (Columbia, SC).
This will be followed at 10:30 a.m. by a legislative update by National Automatic Merchandising Association senior vice-president of government affairs Eric Dell.
Rounding out the program will be a comprehensive overview of the fast-growing micromarket segment by Brad Bachtelle, Bachtelle & Associates (Palm Springs, CA). This gets underway at 12:15 p.m. after a 45-minute lunch break, and will conclude at 1:30 p.m.
The added educational opportunities this year includes a technician training camp, a 4-1/2-hour class divided into separate immersive sessions devoted to Automated Merchandising Systems' cold food and chilled combo glassfront venders; Crane Merchandising Systems' cashless vending technology; Crane Payment Innovations' Cashflow coin managers, four-in-one bill validators/card readers and VNR banknote recycler; U-Select-It Mercato's updated controller and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant door; and Vendors Exchange International Inc.'s Revision Door system. Sessions include printed materials and lunch.
The second added-value session is a sales and marketing training camp led by Denise Ryan of FireStar. Ryan, who delivered an acclaimed keynote address at 2011's ACE, will explore the importance of flexibility in crafting a marketing strategy in a fast-changing world and the need to develop a sales and service approach that converts leads into satisfied customers.
The trade show will open on Friday at 2 p.m. and close at 6 p.m. Half an hour later, the exhibit area will be the setting for a Seventh Inning Stretch party. Tommy John will attend, and will be available to sign autographs.
The Atlantic Coast Exposition is administered by Tay Car Inc. (Cary, NC), managed by Beth Bowen. Additional information and links for registration may be found at atlanticcoastexpo.com.