Industry Archives

My NAMA Fly In Diary – By Jen Tonio

I had the opportunity to attend the NAMA Fly In for the second year in a row. Many people ask what the experience is like and if it is worth going. I can’t express more how great of an experience it is and how much of an impact it has on our industry. Here is a recap of my experience this year. Monday, July 24, 2017 We decided to fly in a day early this year to get a jump on everything. After we checked into the Fairmont hotel and got settled in we met back in the lobby where we ran into quite a few other Fly In attendees. This gave us an opportunity to touch base with some key people and give us a little extra networking time before the next day’s events.

A great view of the Washington Monument while flying into D.C.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017 – Day 1 of Fly-In  8:00 AM – Breakfast & Run After breakfast I took advantage of the weather and extra time I had and went for a run down by the Potomac River and through the National Mall. This was probably one of the best runs I’ve had in a while. You can’t beat those sights! There are some great trails around D.C. and I would love to try and organize a group run for next year’s Fly In.  
Views from my morning run.

Views from my morning run.

3:00 pm – Education Session for Advanced Advocates I joined other Fly In Veterans aka “Advanced Advocates” for our education session with Amy Showalter from the Showalter Group, Inc. Amy specializes in helping organizations advance their cause in the legislative process. She gave a great presentation on how we should tell our story for max impact. One key take-away or "Amyisms" is…
Amyism #47 - Government Relations and Narrative: “As influence agents, we must learn to think in story, talk in story, and present our arguments in a narrative form. Because story can persuade and inspire where reason and logic and argument fall flat. - Kelton Rhoads, PHD”
What does she mean by this? It is important to tell the story about your company and how you got started, the struggles you overcame and where you are today. Your story will help build an emotional response from those listening to you. IMG_1076 4:45 pm – Welcome Reception The welcome reception opened with remarks from George Sifakis, Director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Whitehouse. Following his speech we had the opportunity to network with attendees before sitting down for dinner. I was happy to get together with fellow ELN members to chat and get a group pic. I was impressed by the amount of ELN members present at the Fly In and am excited to see what the future of our industry has in store for us.
ELN members

ELN members

  6:00 pm- Dinner Dinner began with a trophy presentation to the state with the most attendees - which was….Maryland. Congrats Maryland! I’m pushing for more attendees from Michigan next year! Following the trophy presentation, Carla Balakgie, NAMA, President & CEO and Eric Dell, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for NAMA, took the stage to thank everyone and go over a few key statistics surrounding advocacy in our industry and the NAMA Fly In. We were pleased to see that Michigan has lead the way with advocacy days this year with 35!   Rob Engstrom, Senior Vice President, Political Affairs and Federal Relations and National Political Director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce was our dinner speaker. He took the time to give the 300+ NAMA attendees some great political insight and explained the importance of advocacy and how impactful we are because of the size of our group. (Our group is one of the largest advocacy groups to come to D.C.)
Rob Engstrom from the US Chamber of Commerce speaking to all of the fly in attendees.

Rob Engstrom from the US Chamber of Commerce speaking to all of the fly in attendees.

8:30pm – Boat Tour It was a perfect night for the boat tour along the Potomac River where we had spectacular views of the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Kennedy Center.
View of Lincoln Memorial & Washington Monument during the boat tour.

View of Lincoln Memorial & Washington Monument during the boat tour.

  Wednesday, July 26, 2017 - Day 2 of the Fly In 7:00 AM – Buses depart There were 5 buses that took the 300+ NAMA members to Capitol Hill. IMG_1122_2 Once everyone arrived we took a group picture and then pictures of each State group.
NAMA takes the hill.

NAMA takes the hill.

8:00 AM – 3:30 PM- Meetings with members of the Senate and House We had 7 meetings lined up with Senators and House Representatives from Michigan but the first meeting wasn’t until 10:00 am so our group headed over to the Hart building to have breakfast in the cafeteria there.   Since there was a lot going on in D.C. that week we were honored to still get to meet with staff from the offices of Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Rep. Fred Upton, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Brenda Lawrence and Rep. Bill Huizenga. We were very pleased to get to meet with Rep. Paul Mitchell himself and had a great meeting discussing the issues while he was on recess from House meetings. We also got to meet with our friend Rep. Dave Trott , who as a result of one of the previous NAMA Fly In events, has visited our headquarters in Troy, MI.
From left to right, Jeff Smith - All Star, Devin Smith - All Star, Mike Knowlton- Kellogg, Rep. Paul Mitchell, Brittany Westerman - 365, and Jen Tonio- 365

From left to right, Jeff Smith - All Star, Devin Smith - All Star, Mike Knowlton- Kellogg, Rep. Paul Mitchell, Brittany Westerman - 365, and Jen Tonio- 365


From left to right - Reese Hessling -365, Joe Hessling-365, Rep. Dave Trott, Brittany Westerman - 365, Alex Hawkins- 365

Our group representing NAMA from Michigan was very diverse which gave us an advantage while talking with members of Congress. Beyond the 6 of us from 365, we had father and son team -Jeff & Devin Smith from All Star Services, Inc. who had a great story to tell for small business tax reform and the estate tax. Also part of our team was Mike Knowlton from Kellogg who could speak directly about front of package labeling. This is one of the great things about the Fly-In, coming together with fellow NAMA members to lobby for issues related to our industry and build relationships with Operators, Manufacturers and Suppliers.   12:00 PM – Convenience Service Industry Event In between meeting we joined fellow industry advocates, Congressmen/Congresswomen and staff for lunch, networking and packing backpacks for military families with Operation Homefront.

The 365 nanomarket displayed at the Connivence Services Event.

  3:30pm- Bus ride back to hotel At this time I loaded up on the bus with the last group and headed back to the hotel before catching my flight. Since I had an earlier flight I wasn’t able to make the post event happy hour but I will be sure to make it next year. Each of the networking events were great opportunities to get to know everyone who was there. It’s a completely different feel than tradeshow networking events since everyone is there for the same purpose so all of the conversations we have are very beneficial.   The NAMA team did an amazing job putting everything together from the education sessions, to the networking events and of course scheduling all of the meetings with our state representatives. This is a great experience and I highly recommend it to everyone in our industry. Let’s fly in an even larger group next year!
AirVend enables vending operators to comply with FDA regulations on displaying calorie information.

Show Me The Calories! 365 On New FDA Regulations

365 Retail Markets recently joined the NAMA Fly-In in Washington, DC on July 12-13. This event offered an opportunity to meet with members of Congress and speak with representatives of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the new calorie disclosure requirements and their impact on the vending and foodservice industries. The regulation of concern is titled Food Labeling: Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food Sold in Vending Machines, and it requires operators to display to consumers the caloric information for specific food products sold from vending machines[1]. The contents of this rule also contain specifications on signage: type size, color, contrast, location, and more. In discussions throughout NAMA’s Fly-In event, manufacturers (such as Kellogg’s and Mondelez) and operators alike expressed concern about the daunting transition ahead. For manufacturers, the issue centered on special product labeling for the vending industry, which would need to be developed according to the standards for displaying caloric values in font at least 50% of the packaging’s largest text. Meanwhile, operators were unnerved at the prospect of adding required signage to hundreds (even thousands) of vending machines in multiple locations, which would be costly and time-consuming. The price and environmental impact of printing will be steep, while the design and display requirements will be limiting. And that’s just at the beginning. Down the line, sign maintenance will need to be an anticipated responsibility. Signs will need to be replaced in the event of wear, updated information, and amended requirements.

365 Retail Markets is here for you, to make the transition a little smoother.

AirVend is a peripheral device with digital display that easily attaches to a vending machine. This accessory will exhibit the nutritional values and company contact information necessary to comply with the FDA calorie disclosure requirements. AirVend also accepts electronic forms of payment, which are used 32% more than cash[2]. This technology also includes the added benefit of displaying advertisements, which can influence purchases and increase sales volumes by up to 35%[3]. Digital vending devices (such as AirVend) will not only facilitate compliance with new regulations, but also provide the opportunity to increase revenue stream, recoup the initial financial investment, and incorporate cutting-edge technology that will enable future updates.

365 offers special savings on volume pricing. Contact us today for more information.

(888) 365-7382 ||


The Sweet Side Of Capitol Hill: A Day With MDVA

If you’re part of a small business, you’re likely aware that legislature can greatly influence the way you operate. The good news is that, as it turns out, small business can influence legislature right back.
The 365 team took Lansing by storm! MDVA Day at the Capitol 2016

The 365 team took Lansing by storm! Thanks to Eric Dell of NAMA for this snapshot (5/18/16). From left: Samantha Malott, Laura Robinson, Stefano Ferri, Chris Andrick & John Veit.

Just a few weeks ago, 365 Retail Markets was trekking up to Lansing for a little political influence of our own. We were making our way to join the Michigan Distributors & Vendors Association Day at the Capitol. MDVA is our industry’s state advocacy organization, working on our behalf to influence tax and regulatory legislature. 365 Sales Director, John Veit explains it well: “MDVA is an important and influential organization that represents small to large vending and food service operators and complimentary partners in the food and hospitality industry to our elected representatives and lawmakers, to ensure that we have a voice in Michigan.”   How do they accomplish this, you ask? They’ve got some tricks up their sleeve… Okay not tricks, but techniques. MDVA Day at the Capitol is an annual event, where candy boxes are used to lure state representatives and senators to a networking luncheon with association members. With a group comprised entirely of food distributors and vendors, you know those boxes are chock-full of great treats! It wasn’t all candy and handshakes though. Prior to hand-delivering luncheon invitations, our group was briefed on priority issues and bills in process that could impact our businesses. The hot topic of the day was MDVA’s support of SB 774, Senator Joe Hune’s bill to centralize the licensing and inspection of food and coffee vending machines under the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD). Presently, this is managed by the 45 local public health departments across the state, making cost and regulation inconsistent and difficult to follow. Passing this bill would provide a coherent, statewide licensing and inspection program, saving the industry thousands of dollars. In a trade primarily assembled of small businesses, it’s understandable how such legislature attracted substantial involvement. Senate Bill 774 is currently still in process, but MDVA has an impressive track record of legislative successes. So, what should you take away from this? Your small (or not-so-small) company can have an impact too! Advocacy organizations such as MDVA exist to represent a broad spectrum of industries and political views, providing a mouthpiece for citizens affected by governmental action (aka all of us!).    

365 Expands its Organization on the West Coast

Continued growth and customer demand leads 365 Retail Markets to expand its organization on the west coast

365 Retail Markets adds seasoned vending and foodservice professional, Jon Floyd

JonFloydTroy, MI, February 14, 2014 – 365 Retail Markets ( announced today that Jon Floyd has joined their team to provide a new dedicated business development and account management resource for the western half of the United States. Jon Floyd brings a wealth of personal and professional experience, including 15 years managing major national accounts for companies such as Compass Group-Canteen. “Not only is 365 extremely excited about posting record numbers in 2013, but we’re also excited to welcome such a strong resource as Jon to the 365 team,” said Matt Caston, 365 Retail Markets’ CSO. “We know his expertise in this space will be invaluable to our clients as they continue to deploy MicroMarkets throughout their territories.”

CES 2014 from the perspective of 365 Retail Markets’ CEO

CES 2014 from the perspective of 365 Retail Markets’ CEO

CES_2014_LogoI recently had the opportunity to attend one of the world’s best playgrounds for a technology fan like myself - the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. CES has been a technology tradition since 1967 and has never been open to the public – industry only. Speakers such as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Cisco CEO John Chambers, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, amongst others, share their vision of the future with 150,000 gamers, fanboys, geeks, freaks and tech industry types from all over the world.