At the Atlantic Coast Exposition (ACE) – ACE 2023 – ACE-STOCK 2023: Peace, Love and Vending, held at the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation, operators and suppliers from across the U.S. rolled in for education, networking and to see the products, services and equipment shown in the sold-out exhibit hall embraced by the Woodstock-inspired theme.
ACE is the largest show of its kind on the East coast, and its organizers are overwhelmed with the praise that attendees expressed in regards to the show, attendance and participation.
Thursday’s golf tournament was held for the first time at Top Golf where nearly 180 folks packed onto the floor rented exclusively for ACE participants.
Friday’s three educational sessions provided a legislative update by NAMA’s government team, a session on the “The Snaking Culture,” and a panel session highlighting “Technology A to Z” with a variety of topics that focused on filling the gap between open markets and locked vendors.
Other networking events were well attended including Friday night’s “Don’t Worry be Hippy” party with a live band playing Woodstock-era music and Saturday morning’s “Good Vibes” awards breakfast with keynote speaker, Page Fehling, who shared five tips to prevent working run-down. The wrap-up party was once again a “Hole Lotta Love” corn hole tournament with music by Andy Velo and the “Flower Power Bar,” which featured VW bus bar providing drinks for attendees during the event.
Preceding the keynote performance, awards were given to the following:
NCVA Route Driver of the Year: Brandon Johnson (Triangle Vending)
VAMA Route Drive of the Year: Kathy Stertz (Trolley House Refreshments)
VAMA also presented the Vendor of the Year award to Chant Connock (Business Opportunities for the Blind) and the Supplier of the Year award to Rick Rayburn (DCS Specialty Brokerage).
A plaque was presented to Geoff Cook in gratitude for his service as the 2023 ACE Chair.
Additionally, Chris Harrison (Canteen) received special recognition to honor his many years of service to the ACE Planning Committee Chair.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Karen Harlow, a long-time Canteen employee.
The committee also presented plaques to the highest corporate diamond level sponsors whose generous contributions made ACE 2023 a success. ACE diamond sponsors include Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, PepsiCo Food Service, Vendors Supply and Vistar.
To continue to make a difference in the local community, ACE organized donations from suppliers and donated a truck full of remaining products from the show to the local food bank to distribute to families in need.
The ACE Planning Committee began planning ACE 2024 the week following the show. Next year’s dates are October 10-12, 2024, at Embassy Suites Kingston Plantation where is has been held since 2009.
The Atlantic Coast Exposition (ACE) is a trade show featuring suppliers to the foodservice industry, industry machinery, vended and dining products, electronic components, communication equipment, customized vehicles and much more. Educational programs are presented, which provide information about the industry. Social and sporting events are included. Registration is open to anyone in vending, office coffee or food service business, including those involved in contract foodservice in schools, colleges, and hospitals. ACE is sponsored by the N.C. Vending Association (NCVA), S.C. Vending Association (SCVA) and VA Automatic Merchandising Association (VAMA).