Last month I wrote to you about a sense of optimism in the convenience services industry. This was written before the coronavirus pandemic enveloped our country and massively impacted every industry. The enormity of what our nation, and our world, is currently facing cannot be denied. But I believe that optimism remains, even amid such tragedy.
Throughout 2019, most American businesses were riding the wave of a strong economy and low unemployment. If you had consulted a Magic 8-Ball at this time last year, the outlook would have been good for companies in convenience services and unattended retail.
The threat of COVID-19 has challenged every business in unforeseen ways. As travel restrictions, social distancing and lockdowns grind everyday life to a halt, people are wondering when we’ll be able to return to business as usual. Some question whether “business as usual” is a thing of the past and suggest that we need to prepare ourselves for a new normal.
The most important thing an operator can do right now is to ensure the safety of their employees and customers (and, of course, their loved ones and themselves). As professionals who work with food and beverages, it’s already necessary to operate with the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness, but operators have had to take additional measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Tahoe Vending/Sonoran Coffee CEO Jarrad Duxbury shared what his company is doing in this issue’s operation profile.
In our annual micro market forum, we talked with a few industry leaders about the challenges operators currently face. The conversation immediately — and rightfully — centered around the threat of COVID-19. While our sources acknowledged the difficult current state of business for operators, they explained how our industry is uniquely poised to respond to this challenge.
In non-coronavirus news, we’re thrilled to present the results of our annual Readers’ Choice New Products of the Year Awards. Click here to learn about the 10 products Automatic Merchandiser readers voted as their favorite additions in 2019.
Normally, this is the time of year when we’d be talking about the upcoming NAMA Show, which was scheduled for the first week of May in Nashville. As you know, The 2020 NAMA Show was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. While we’re disappointed that our annual industry get-together isn’t happening, we hope to find ways to connect with each other from a safe distance. We’d love to share inspiring stories of how folks in our industry are responding to these challenging times.
Please email us at [email protected] if you have anything to share, and take care.