Embrace change for better business

Business at the beginning of the year is always full of possibilities. For Automatic Merchandiser, business means articles that set the tone for 2013 as well as highlight the topics and trends that are most important. That’s why this month we tapped our advisory board and the CEO of the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) to bring you the 5 key growth trends for 2013. While most of the topics won’t surprise avid readers of the magazine, the article puts the need for expansion in certain key areas in clear terms. With this information operators will be better prepared to successfully go to market this year.

Forward thinkers embrace technology

Investing and effectively utilizing technology is certainly something to be admired. Often it means spending money and taking the chance to do business differently. And when it works, it can lead to growth. That’s what partners Scott Halloran and Michael Calkins of Trolley House Refreshments have learned. They believed in the value of technology and it allowed them to beat the recession and become the largest independent operator in Richmond, Va. Their success story is shared on page 12.

Introducing editorial for the small business

While technology can help businesses run more efficiently and profitably, it’s not possible for each and every operation to make the investment. Because of that, this year we’re also going to get back to the basics of vending. To achieve this goal, Dominic Finelli, who many of you know as the long-time owner of Custom Vending Co. in Md., has transitioned to become a contributing editor for Automatic Merchandiser. He will be our small operations guru, sharing his strategies gleamed from 43 years working on the job. This month he covers inventory control and pricing in a new column called SmallOp – advice and know-how tailored to the 1 to 4 route operation, on page 18. More articles by Finelli will appear as 2013 unfolds.

New assistant editor joins AM

I’m also happy to introduce a new Automatic Merchandiser/VendingMarketWatch team member — Alfonso Flores. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, Flores has been working over the past month to learn our industry. Already he’s written a blog about the “bad rap” vending gets in the mainstream media and from some legislators. He’s enthusiastic and as someone very wise once told me, attitude is 90 percent of everything you do.

While New Year’s resolutions were last month’s news, February still brings with it excitement for the future. With the recession tentatively over and increasing consumer confidence, we can embrace the new and smarter business opportunities out there. We can get down to the business of doing business.