LAS VEGAS -- The National Bulk Vendors Association's 64th annual convention and trade show are being hailed as unqualified successes by NBVA officials. The fourth bulk vending show to collocate with the Amusement Expo, the event was held at the Las Vegas (NV) Convention Center from March 25 through 27.
"I thought it was a great show, certainly comparable to last year," said newly elected NBVA president Judi Heston, Theisen Vending Co. (Golden Valley, MN). "The traffic on the show floor looked better than last year, the seminars were better attended, and the general meeting had its best attendance ever."
According to initial estimates, NBVA registered 233 participants, down slightly from last year's 250. There were 22 exhibitors in 43 booths in the bulk vending pavilion, compared with 18 exhibitors in 42 booths the year prior. Any minimal shortfall the show may have experienced was more than made up for by the enthusiasm of bulk industry visitors.
The success of this year's show was credited, according to one NBVA official, to several upgrades in format. These included a dedicated day of seminars on March 25 that attracted a record number of operators. Topics covered in the all-day seminar schedule ranged from Bulk Vending 101 to Where'd Da Money Go?, which offered operators an introduction to internal loss prevention through forensic accounting methods.
Highlighting the bulk vending meeting was the award for Most Innovative Operator. This year's honors, along with $300, went to bulk vending newcomer Raquel Thompson of Thompson Brothers Vending (Las Vegas). Thompson won the award for her use of a recycling bin for capsules, as well as paper cup dispenser positioned near her machines. According to Thompson, the recycling container for discarded capsules not only sends a "green" message to patrons, but also cuts down on litter in the immediate vicinity of the bulk machines.
As show organizers pointed out, although exhibit time on the show floor was reduced by a day during the three-day convention, exhibit hours were extended from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. This resulted in a total loss of just a single hour, compared with last year's more traditional three-day exhibit schedule.
BACK TO THE EIGHTIES, MAN
NBVA's annual banquet, held during the show, was themed to the 1980s. In a ballroom strewn with Rubik's Cube décor, the banquet mixed socializing and business. NBVA held elections of its new officers, announced scholarship winners and presented awards for the best bulk vending merchandise and equipment.
This year's estimable winners for the best in bulk vending were:
Best 1" Capsule » [tie] Sqwishland by Brand Vending & Jewelry Box by SSM Vending
Best 2" Capsule » NFL Buildable [Figures] by A&A Global Industries
Best Sticker » NFL Logo Sticker by A&A Global Industries
Best Tattoo » Pink & Black Sugar #6 by Flatline Corp.
Best Candy/Gum » Dubble Bubble Assorted 850ct. by Concord Confections
Best Machine » Super 80 (2" capsule config.) by Northwestern Corp.
Best Crane Mix » Ice Cream Candy Mix by A&A Global Industries
Amusement Expo is the embodiment of the long-running (and separate) coin-op trade shows sponsored by the Amusement and Music Operators Association and American Amusement Machine Association. The first Amusement Expo was held in 2010. The 2015 NBVA show and convention, again collocating with Amusement Expo, will be held from March 24-26 (Tuesday-Thursday) at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The new format that features a day dedicated to educational seminars will be in effect, running on March 24, followed by a two-day exhibit.
Theisen Vending's Judi Heston Is Elected NBVA President
Amusement Expo Concludes Its First Show On Two-Day Program; Preliminary Numbers Show Sweeping Increases
photo | NOT FORGOTTEN: During the annual NBVA banquet, outgoing NBVA president, Steve Schechner, Capital Vending (Florence, AL), made special mention of Irvin G. Gardner, the former secretary/treasurer of Gardner & Lose Co. (Shively, KY). Gardner, who died on Feb. 1, was 90. In 1949 he founded Gardner & Lose, the nation's longest running privately owned bulk vending operation. A World War II veteran, Gardner attended the very first meeting of the NBVA. Although Gardner's family could not attend, the association created a special plaque to recognize his contribution to the industry.