In 2016, Chicago, IL-based NAMA celebrates its 80th anniversary and brings home the premier event for the vending, micro market and office coffee service industry: the NAMA OneShow. With each passing year, the NAMA OneShow delivers more value for attendees and exhibitors alike and this year is no exception, said Dan Mathews, NAMA executive vice president & COO. With nearly 75,000 square feet of exhibit space almost sold out plus surprise rollouts and unveilings scheduled throughout the event, this year’s OneShow is poised to be the biggest in history.
Spark of entrepreneurship
Throughout the three-day event, attendees will have the opportunity to explore more than 260 exhibitors — up from last year’s number — including 50 new exhibitors. “There will be plenty to see, including many fantastic exhibitor product launches that will take place on the show floor,” said Mathews.
OneShow attendees will also have the opportunity to witness new product concepts firsthand in a unique opening session that seeks to inspire the entrepreneur in every viewer.
This year’s NAMA OneShow opening session, sponsored by PepsiCo, will feature Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec from ABC’s hit TV show Shark Tank. Teams will have the opportunity to present their refreshment services industry-related business ideas in front of the judges and the NAMA OneShow crowd — the winner of the competition will receive a $10,000 cash prize up for grabs to continue their business innovation. “Many people in the vending, micro market and OCS industry are entrepreneurs; they have started their own business, launched their own products or both,” said Mathews, “so this is an exciting opening session opportunity that is unique for the OneShow and one that will appeal to many attendees.”
Millennial, international attraction
The unique opening session is just one way that the NAMA OneShow delivers new value. This year the NAMA staff is also focusing on attracting a larger international and non-industry attendance as well. “The industry has expanded and the show floor will reflect that,” said Mathews. “We want to show attendees, NAMA members and non-members alike, the progress that we have made and the work to be done.”
The NAMA staff is encouraging university personnel and hospital staff to attend the show in order to educate decision makers and professors who teach about the refreshment services industry. “We want to show that vending has evolved, and introduce decision makers to the new technologies, healthy offerings and refreshment options available in our industry,” said Mathews. This focus is also meant to help students — Generation Z and Millennials who are early into their careers — look at the vending industry as a viable option. Students who would like to attend the NAMA OneShow will be given a complimentary pass. “We’d like students to consider our industry,” said Mathews.
The location, said Mathews, makes the OneShow a desirable and convenient show for those near and far. “Chicago is centrally located,” he said. “We get a lot of registrations because people can easily drive here. For the out-of-towners, we have a wonderful international airport as well.”
Alongside new products and networking opportunities, attendees can expect an enhanced educational program. In 2016, NAMA will be bringing back the highest rated education session leaders including Dr. Michael Kasavana who will present on the trends in vending and micro markets; attorney and NAMA Knowledge Source Partner Heather Bailey who will be presenting a session on the latest industry laws for OSHA compliance, labor laws and more; industry consultant John Healy who will present on social media in vending; and Michigan State University Professor of Information Systems Dr. Cheri Speier-Pero who will be presenting on how to use data to improve business results.
Mobile marketing group Field Agent will also be presenting critical vending issues of the 21st century along with micro market marketing, merchandising trends and new products.
Due to its popularity in Las Vegas, NV, at the 2015 OneShow, this year NAMA will also continue its small operator round table which focuses on issues pertaining to the small-size vending operation. “We will also host sessions on ways to use beacon technology to engage shoppers; advocacy; as well as a nutrition and FitPick session,” said Mathews. “We encourage attendees to bring a lot of employees to maximize education sessions.”
Another bonus for attendees? Pertinent micro market education and information. At the OneShow, NAMA will be rolling out MASTERING MICRO MARKETS [An Operations Manual for Increasing Profitability in Micro Markets] with benchmarks and startup information that will help new and veteran micro market operators alike. “It’s a great resource for operators,” said Mathews. “The manual goes in depth in micro markets and at the end of each chapter there are marketing tips to act on the information given.”
Whether attendees are looking to explore emerging trends, gain skills from education sessions, build an industry network or all of the above, the 2016 NAMA OneShow will have everything they need to build their business and brand in the 21st century vending, micro market and OCS industry.