Not Just Another 48 Hours

On April 23rd, Trevor and I caught a mid-afternoon flight to Las Vegas for a quick 48 Hrs at the NAMA One Show. NAMA stands for the National Automatic Merchandising Association and the One Show is their National Trade show featuring all things Vending and Coffee. Marcie’s mission for me was simple, from a Social Media perspective anyway.. Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! my activities from the show floor. After a crash course in all things Twitter off we went…So in case you are not following us on twitter at @wpgcoffeegurus please do as we’d love to hear from you!

Our Wednesday morning started off by spending an hour listening to the Key Note Speaker Magic Johnson. While it was great to hear Magic’s story about growing up, some of which I already knew, I was most interested in Magic’s career after basketball. Magic is currently a part owner of the LA Dodgers, a real estate company, The Magic Johnson Theaters, and up until recently, owned as many as 50 Starbucks locations, all the while also dabbling in Coffee and Vending among many other things. As I drilled his presentation down to that one thing I could take away to help us grow our business, Magic’s message to me was clear – Exceed or Shatter your customers’ expectations. It’s a simple statement that we have talked about for years and is key to our business, but do we deliver? The timing of this presentation was perfect as just prior to the NAMA Show, we started a process called “ The Planning Process” with the Leadership Group here at Gourmet. Stay tuned as I am planning a series of Blogs on this subject and how it will lead to “Exceeding Expectations”.

Now back to NAMA… We use this Show as an opportunity to meet with many suppliers to review this past year and plan for the future. This year was no exception as we had 8 meetings over the 2 days. We shared our Vision for our coming fiscal year that starts on July 1st, 2013 and how each of them was going to help grow our business and theirs as well.

There was a great deal of buzz around the Show regarding the availability of non-Licensed single cup hot beverages that are similar in design to those used in Keurig Brewers. It seemed like there were more non-Licensed beverage options than Licensed at this years’ show. In addition, some of North America’s largest commercial coffee equipment manufacturers are preparing to release their own brewers that will brew this cartridge style, further clouding the Office Coffee world. It certainly is a very interesting time in the single cup industry.

One thing we found surprising is that Vending had a larger presence than in recent years. The decline of Vending-related booths over the past few years has been due in part to the battles our industry faces regarding Nutritional concerns and legislation vs. the right to choice and moderation. Remote monitoring of Vending Machines, and now even remote monitoring single cup office coffee brewers, was also front and center. Imagine Ralph, our Service Manager, adjusting the coffee strength or cup size of your coffee brewer remotely from his computer or IPad! Full Touch Screen Vending machines were everywhere, even one that vended Cosmetics only! How about a vending machine that vended products like Belts, Purses and Shoes…Shopping 24/7!

48hrs without a minute wasted…Trevor and I both left Las Vegas excited about the year ahead and how we can grow our business by introducing new equipment, products and service that will lead to long relationships and Shattering our Customer’s Expectations. Not to worry, we won’t forget have a PILE of fun along the way!!!!