Flooding has cost an estimated $1 billion in damage in Cedar Rapids, Ia. alone.
Vending and foodservice operators in flooded areas of the Midwest had business operations disrupted for as long as two weeks and were getting back to normal in late June. The flooding, which reportedly broke more than 35 levees, struck towns in the Mississippi River basin. Water levels peaked in St. Louis, Mo. at 37.27 feet, lower than earlier forecast and below the record of 49.58 feet set in 1993.
In submerged Cedar Rapids, Ia., the PepsiAmericas Inc. plant was evacuated.
Vending and foodservice operators in affected regions said most of the flooding hurt residential areas more than businesses, but operators were forced to reroute deliveries and many accounts were closed temporarily.
Automatic Vending Service Inc. in Burlington, Ia. was forced to move equipment from accounts, noted Brendan Markey, co-owner. Some OCS equipment could not be saved. One employee who lived in Gulfport, Ill. lost his home but was able to find housing with relatives, Markey noted. The company donated ice, snacks and coffee to repair crews.
Hasty Tasty Food Service Inc., based in Davenport, Ia., was forced to use lengthy, alternate routes due to road closures, noted Galen Starkweather, owner. He said deliveries were halted for several days. In addition, some employees missed a few days of work to repair flooded basements.
CL Swanson Corp., based in Madison, Wis., removed equipment from some accounts, noted Jeff Parks, president. He said locations were closed in Cedar Rapids, Ia. and in Jefferson, Wis. and Fort Atkinson, Wis.
The most devastating impact will be from the cost of lost crops, which will affect operators nationwide.
Crop damage in Iowa alone reportedly surpassed $2.7 billion, nearly half of it in just one town, Cedar Rapids. Corn prices reportedly hit an all-time high near $8 a bushel in late June, but many other crops were also devastated, especially wheat in Missouri and Nebraska and soybeans in Indiana and Kentucky.
Refreshment service companies contributed to flood recovery efforts.
» Court rules currency discriminates against the blind; NAMA mulls its options
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that because different denominations of paper money are indistinguishable by touch, the government is discriminating against blind people, according to news reports. The decision could force the Treasury Department to make significant changes to currency, such as printing different-sized bills for different amounts or giving them raised markings.
The court issued the ruling in response to a lawsuit by the American Council of the Blind. The government has been fighting the case for about six years and could appeal the ruling. The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) will look into the next steps that should be taken to protect the vending industry. NAMA initially responded to this issue when the first lawsuit was filed against the U.S. Treasury by the American Council of the Blind which said U.S. currency should be redesigned to help blind and visually impaired people distinguish among denominations.
» J. M. Smucker Co. to acquire Folgers from Procter & Gamble Co. for $3.3 billion
The J. M. Smucker Co. and Procter & Gamble Co. announced a definitive agreement to merge the Folgers coffee business into The J. M. Smucker Co. in an all-stock reverse transaction valued at approximately $3.3 billion, including the assumption of an estimated $350 million of Folgers debt.
As part of the transaction, Smucker will issue a one-time special dividend of $5 per share to Smucker shareholders as of the record date, prior to the merger.Following this one-time special dividend, Procter & Gamble shareholders will receive approximately 53.5 percent of Smucker in a tax-free stock-for-stock merger.
» General Mills Inc. buys nutrition bar maker Humm Foods
General Mills Inc. has bought organic foods maker Humm Foods, according to The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal in Minneapolis, Minn. The company stated Humm's Larabar and Larabar Jocalat health bars will become part of Small Planet Foods, General Mills' natural and organic products group.
» Performance Food Group finalizes merger with Vistar: Holm to be chief executive officer
Performance Food Group Co. announced that the acquisition of the company by affiliates of The Blackstone Group and Wellspring Capital Management has been completed.
The transaction is valued at approximately $1.4 billion.
Performance Food Group is being merged with a wholly owned subsidiary of Vistar Corp. The newly combined company, known as Performance Food Group, is expected to have revenues approaching $10 billion and more than 10,000 associates.
George Holm, president and chief executive officer of Vistar, will assume the role of chief executive officer for Performance Food Group.
» Flowers Foods Inc. will merge with Holsum Bakery Inc.
Flowers Foods, Inc., which owns Mrs. Freshley's, recently entered into a definitive merger agreement with Holsum Bakery, Inc. whereby Holsum Bakery will be a wholly owed subsidiary of Flowers Foods in exchange for cash and Flowers stock. Holsum Bakery, which operates profitably on annualized sales of approximately $146 million, is a family-owned business with two bakeries in the Phoenix, Ariz. area.
Holsum Bakery employs 580 people and sells its products through independent distributors that serve retail and foodservice customers in Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Nevada and Southern California with fresh breads and rolls under the Holsum, Aunt Hattie's, and Roman Meal brands.
» SandenVendo America markets La Cimbali self serve espresso machines
SandenVendo America, Inc. has teamed with La Cimbali, an Italy-based manufacturer of espresso machines, to market Cimbali self-service espresso solutions to North America.
» Dr Pepper Snapple Group to build plant in Victorville, Calif.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group, Inc. has finalized an agreement to open a production and distribution center in Victorville, Calif. The $120 million facility is expected to employ 200 people and will become the company's western hub in a regional manufacturing and distribution footprint serving California and parts of the desert Southwest. The company will produce a wide range of soft drinks, juices, juice drinks, ready-to-drink teas, energy drinks and other premium beverages at the Victorville plant.
» Imperial Companies, Jackson Brothers of the South swap business in Arkansas and Missouri
Imperial Companies, a vending/foodservice operation based in Tulsa, Okla., recently traded most of its Missouri business with Jackson Brothers of the South in exchange for some of that company's Arkansas business, officials from both companies reported. Imperial Companies acquired about $11 million worth of business and about 100 employees from Jackson Brothers of the South. In exchange, Jackson Brothers of the South acquired about $4.2 million worth of business and about 35 employees from Imperial Companies.
Jackson Brothers of the South will purchase Imperial Companies' facility in Joplin, Mo., according to Paul Tims, owner of Imperial Companies, and Nick Branham, owner of Jackson Brothers of the South. Imperial Companies will lease Jackson Brothers of the South's facility in Russellville, Ark. on a temporary basis until it builds a new facility in Fort Smith, Ark., Tims said. Jackson Brothers of the South still has facilities in Harrison, Ark. and Jonesboro, Ark. in addition to Joplin, Mo., Moberly, Mo. and Mt. Pleasant, Ia. Jackson Brothers of the South is separate from St. Louis, Mo.-based Jackson Brothers.
» Burdette Beckmann Inc. will merge with Pacific Brokerage
Burdette Beckmann Inc., the Hollywood, Fla.-based vending and coffee service brokerage, will merge with Pacific Brokerage, the Yorba Linda, Calif.-based vending and coffee service product brokerage. Robert Mattias, a partner at Pacific Brokerage, said the California brokerage will essentially remain intact. He said the Yorba Linda office and all 13 employees will remain.
» KIC Products merges with Clean Team Co.
KIC Products, a manufacturer of cleaning cards, has merged with Clean Team Co., a developer and manufacturer of technical cleaning products, to become KICTeam. KICTeam will continue to work from Auburn, Me. and San Diego, Calif., with Auburn serving as its headquarters.
» Feds investigate dairy price fixing charges
Federal officials are investigating allegations that Dairy Farmers of America manipulated dairy prices, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cooperative also faces antitrust lawsuits by farmers and retailers alleging it conspired to suppress prices it paid for raw milk in the Southeast while raising prices to the region's retailers.
» Four more vendors join SPIO Media Network
The SPIO Media Network, a direct-to-consumer marketing system that dispenses redeemable coupons through vending machines, recently named four more vending operators to its network: PGI Services Inc., with branches Salt Lake City, Utah, Chicago, Ill. and Orlando, Fla.; Cambelback Vending of Phoenix, Ariz.; Ace Vending in Tempe, Ariz.; and Bayco Vending Inc., based in San Francisco, Calif.
» Joe Ragan's Family of Companies acquires packaging company
Joe Ragan's Family of Companies, the Springfield, Va.-based provider of coffee service, bottled water service, office supplies, office furniture and packaging services, recently acquired the assets of Alliance Packaging Inc., also of Springfield, from owners Larry Pullen and Dale Quakenbush, for an undisclosed sum.
Joe Ragan's Family of Companies incorporated the packaging company into its existing packaging business, of which Quakenbush is now the president, according to Joe Ragan, founder and co-owner. Pullen is no longer involved with the company. Ragan said seven of Alliance Packaging's 15 employees have been retained.
» PJ's Coffee franchisees acquire roasting and franchising operations
PJ's Coffee of New Orleans, La. was recently acquired by New Orleans Roast and New Orleans Brew - the largest existing franchisees of PJ's Coffee of New Orleans. The new owners plan to expand the roasting and franchise operations of the company. The Ballard family - Paul, Steven and Scotty, along with a group of New Orleans business leaders had previously purchased PJ's Coffee from Raving Brands of Atlanta, Ga.
» Rudy Nutrition, Inc. signs distributor for Indiana, lower Michigan
Rudy Nutrition, Inc. announced the addition of Corner Wholesale, Inc., Granger Ind., to its national team of sales representatives and distributors. A category specialist serving the convenience store and small business industries, Corner Wholesale has begun marketing Rudy Nutrition's healthier alternative “Rudy” branded beverage products throughout the territories of Indiana and lower Michigan.
» Pepsi Cola bottlers form new association
A group of Pepsi Cola bottlers have formed a new group called the Independent Bottlers Association (IBA), according to Beverage Digest, a beverage industry newsletter. One member said the group has more than 60 bottler members, which would make it the largest Pepsi bottler organization. The member said most bottlers joining IBA will leave an existing association, the Pepsi-Cola Bottler Association.
» Caribou Coffee Co. wins coffee tasting contest at specialty coffee convention
Caribou Coffee Co. recently won the Roasters Guild 2008 Roasters Choice Tasting Competition at the Specialty Coffee Association of America's (SCAA) 20th annual conference and exhibition held recently in Minneapolis, Minn.
» MEI extends its $5 trade-in program to July 15
MEI has extended its offer to help operators update their machines. Now through July 15, operators can trade in their existing bill validators for a credit toward the purchase of the latest MEI Series 2000 flash-programmable validators, which are already equipped to accept the new bill. The flash program feature enables fast, one-step software changes.
Operators get a $40 credit for replacing non-Flash MEI Series 2000 validators and a $20 credit for replacing other MEI and non-MEI validators. Operators can trade in bill validators through their local MEI distributor. For a full list of MEI distributors, visit www.meigroup.com.
» AMS sues Crane and Seaga Manufacturing for patent infringement
Automated Merchandising Systems, Inc. has filed a patent infringement suit against Crane Co. and Seaga Manufacturing, Inc., following the manufacturing and sale of two different lines of vending machines, according to The West Virginia Record in Charleston, W.Va.
» NAMA improves Website
Lightening fast downloads, quick and easy searches and a new calendar of events section listing all industry events are among the new features at the new National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Website, www.vending.org. From new colors and easy-to-use tabs, the completely revamped Website is easier to navigate and directs visitors quickly to the information they need.
PEOPLE IN THE NEWS
Publishing magazine honors AM 's Gloria Cosby
Gloria Cosby, brand director for Cygnus Business Media whose publishing group includes Automatic Merchandiser Magazine, was named among the “11 Women To Watch” by Min's B2B, a publishing industry magazine. Min's B2B highlighted 11 women in business-to-business (b2b) media companies who are finding innovative solutions to growing their products in a hostile economic climate.
Industry Loses Wayne Painter of VendTek Wholesale Equipment
Wayne Painter, vice president of sales at VendTek Wholesale Equipment, Inc., based in Wixom, Mich., recently passed away after a battle with breast cancer. He was 65. Painter began his career at VendTek in 1993 as a telemarketer. Within three years, he was promoted to vice president of sales. He chose to continue to work during his battle with cancer in an effort to achieve normalcy.
Suchart Vend Brokerage LLC Tabs Industry Veteran Gary Medley To Replace Retiring Don Nord
Suchart Vend Brokerage LLC, the Overland Park, Kan.-based product brokerage, recently hired Gary Medley as a sales rep for the St. Louis, Mo., Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois area to replace Don Nord, who is retiring. Medley brings 26 years of industry experience, including 18 years at Farmer Brothers Coffee, where he was assistant branch manager, and eight years with American Vending Machines Inc. in St. Louis, where he was vice president overseeing equipment remanufacturing and sales of new and refurbished equipment.
SandenVendo America Inc. names three new employees
SandenVendo America, Inc., recently named Niki Thomas as senior product marketing manager. A mechanical engineer, Thomas comes to SandenVendo America, Inc. from Emerson Process Management where she led the new product development team as product manager. The company also named Martin Hutchinson to the sales division to focus on international markets, and James Mealer to its marketing team as a product manager.
Aramark Corp. names new heads of refreshment services and business dining
Aramark Corp. named Robert W. Wilson president of its Refreshment Services division, which includes vending, coffee service and water filtration. He most recently served as executive vice president of the health care division, where he oversaw senior living service. He reports to Ira Cohen, group president for the business and industry group. The division has been without a president since Richard Wyckoff left the company about two years ago.
The company also named Gary Crompton president of business dining, He most recently served as business dining's executive vice president.
Ice cream vendors group names Alan Drazen of Midlantic Vending as president
Alan Drazen, vice president of Midlantic Vending Corp., based in Moorestown, N.J., was recently elected president of the International Association of Ice Cream Vendors.
Snyder's Of Hanover Honors
J. Mike Alexander & Associates As Broker Of The Year Snyder's of Hanover recently presented its Broker of the Year Award to J. Mike Alexander & Associates, based in Lexington, Ky. Tom Richardson, Tom Fraley and Mark Budd of Snyder's of Hanover presented the award to Terry Newland, Mike Alexander, Mark Riggs and Jerry Krogmeier of J. Mike Alexander & Associates.
Lavazza names Coco and Silha
Lavazza USA recently named Bob Coco as director of sales. Coco joined the company in 2003 in national accounts. Lavazza also named Steve Silha as Midwest regional sales manager for its away-from-home division. Silha left his role as North American business development director for Tilbury Corp., which develops technology solutions for the marketing and sales groups for the food and packaged goods industry.
James crilley retires from B.W. steston & Co., Bridgeton, N.J. James Crilley has retired after 38 years at B.W. Stetson & Co. in Bridgeton, N.J. He is a former president of the Automatic Merchandising Council of New Jersey.