The NAMA 2014 CoffeeTea&Water show was the largest yet. Automatic Merchandiser and VendingMarketWatch Editor Emily Refermat sits down on the tradeshow floor with Carla Balakgie NAMA CEO, and Co-Chairs Pete Tullio and Howard Fischer to discuss how the show has developed and what the industry can expect from CTW 2015.
Emily: I'm Emily Refermat and I'm here in Dallas, TX at the 2014 CoffeeTea&Water show. I'm here with some key coodinators of the event, NAMA CEO Carla Balakgie and Co-Chairs Pete Tullio and Howard Fischer.
This has been a great show, a lot different than the first one in Cherry Hill. Can you talk a little bit about how the show has developed?
Pete: Well having been a participant at the first show in Cherry Hill, the only thing I can say is the phrase, "We've come a long way, baby" really applies. The first show had 256 attendees. At the time we decided we needed to have more consolidated education for our channel and that's how the show began. As you can see from today, the education theme has continued and is even stronger than ever. And of course the networking theme, as we can see by the folks around us, networking to the fullest is also carried through.
Carla: My view of it is a little bit shorter term. My first CTW was in Las Vegas about four years ago as I was joining NAMA. Over the last three years, I would say the growth of CTW has mirrored the growth of the industry; the diversity of participants, the partnership we have with IBWA and other organizations that are growing in the channel and the diversity of the education are all reflective of what is happening in the industry and the engine that is CTW is driving the growth. So it's a very exciting event and exciting to be a part of it and I have a feeling it's going to continue on that trajectory.
Howard: I would add that the original basis for the Coffee Summit was education and networking and we've done nothing but improve every single year as a result of increased participation from both the operator and the supplier side.
Emily: Excellent, so can you give us a sneak preview of 2015?
Pete: Well next year the plan is that we are having the CTW show in Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord Hotel on the Potomac River. We are looking forward to that as an even bigger and better event and one thing that I noticed at this show that I think is going to contribute to next year is that I had a number of first-time participants come and introduce themselves to me and say it's the first time they've been to the show. They can't wait for next year and I was really happy to hear that.
Howard: What's also interesting is that we're also able to be successful in larger, cosmopolitan cities, which means it's nothing but "up" from here. We're very excited about that.
Carla: The thing that I look forward to in Washington, D.C. is combining what we know is a great education program, a great business networking and business development activity with our advocacy work. Most people don't say they're anxious to come to Washington but we hope that the CTW community is and that they're anxious to help NAMA advance their interests in Washington and to combine a government affairs and advocacy outreach effort while we're there.