Coffee Summit Made New Jersey Warm in February

March 3, 2008
The thought of attending anything in mid-February in New Jersey is not at top on my list of things to do.

Now I don’t know about you, but the thought of attending anything in mid-February in New Jersey is not at top on my list of things to do. After all, if I want cold and snowy weather all I have to do is walk outside to my Wisconsin back yard.

I’ve currently got about 22 inches of snow in my yard, the temperatures have been averaging in mid teens to low 20s, and we haven’t seen the sun for months. Checking out the weather conditions on the Internet, I saw that New Jersey didn’t sound much better! What could possibly lure me to go to New Jersey in the middle of winter……..NAMA!


I just returned from the 2-day Coffee Summit sponsored by National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA). And though it may have been cold and dreary outside in Cherry Hill, N.J, it truly was bright and exciting inside. Designed to be “all-inclusive,” the Summit was sort of a “mini vacation.”

All you needed to do was check in. Once there, you had events to attend, friends to visit with, new people to meet and all your meals and snacks were included. (Okay, there wasn’t any water and the sun never came out, but you get my point.)

The scheduled speakers were all well selected and prepared. The Summit started with an opening session featuring Automatic Merchandiser’s editor, Elliot Maras. His presentation on the “State of the Coffee Service Industry” was concise and informative.

His summary of factors, both current and historical, deliver the message of where the office coffee service business is today and where it can go.


After the opening session, the Summit offered a selection of speakers to choose from and almost all speakers included a panel of industry professionals to answer questions from attendees. The informal design of each session allowed attendees the opportunity to ask questions to industry leaders in a relaxed setting. And ask questions they did!

  • “What makes your software program better than the other three panel members?”
  • “Why can I buy OCS equipment for less money at a wholesale club than I can from the manufacturer?”
  • “How do I address my customer’s “green” concerns?”
  • “What questions do I really need to ask before I quote the business?”

Some of the questions asked for more information and some put the speakers and the panel members in the hot seat for a few minutes. But none of them stumped the speakers or the panels and all of them made for a better session. It provided the attending operators the opportunity to truly ask the questions that were on their minds. Questions they needed to ask to drive their business.

The NAMA staff and the Coffee Education Summit Committee deserve a big congratulations for pulling together a very unique and educational gathering. Everything seemed to have been planned out to smallest detail.


From the speakers, to the schedule, to the networking receptions, everything provided a benefit to the attendees.

I may not have gotten any sun, but I definitely was enlightened by my two days in New Jersey. And as for the sun … I’ll catch up with it out in Las Vegas at the end of this month during the Spring NAMA Expo. See you there.