Canadian Vending

News
From the Editor: December 2006

Innovation


April 1, 2008
By Cam Wood

At this time of year, the mood always swings to one of sentimentality. Little things become more important, and our minds wander to moments of reflection.

Innovation

At this time of year, the mood always swings to one of sentimentality. Little things become more important, and our minds wander to moments of reflection.

Looking back, we’ve seen the element of change in the coin-op industry continue to charge like an angry bull. From amusement to vending, technology, consumer tastes and government interference – or perhaps rephrased as health-conscious policies – have dominated our time.

As we move into another year of business, these things show little sign of change. Which calls for even more diligence on our behalf to make a difference.

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In the spring, Canadian Vending was honoured to be part of a new venture in the Canadian vending industry at the annual trade show. A certification program, designed by our friends at Ryan Vending in Victoria, B.C., brought an entirely new perspective to our thinking. Through unique partnerships with schools, government agencies, dieticians and suppliers, they have become a proactive partner in the battle for our children’s nutritional health.

And while the program is still a somewhat new way of operating a vending business, it is also one that will go a long way to erasing the stereotype of what vending is in our culture.

Sadly, the message in the mainstream remains that of a blame game. Without a strong voice to tackle the stereotypes, our industry continues to be directly associated with childhood obesity. Each time an article is printed or television segment aired, our products and equipment feature prominently in the background.

There’s a need to correct this perception – and through a unified voice.

Fortunately, we’re seeing some new life in our industry association as more collective successes among our ranks occur. Perhaps this new momentum within will address this issue as we move into the next stage of evolution.

In this issue, Canadian Vending travelled to Las Vegas to cover a special session for family entertainment centre operators at the 2006 Fun Expo. Focusing on “Turning Fun Into Fit,” this concept also pushes the philosophy of our amusement industry towards that of being a healthy alternative.

Dorothy Lewis, a seasoned FEC veteran, explains how she saw the opportunity to use traditional downtimes at her facilities to further the cause of childhood fitness. In doing so, Lewis discovered the marvels of community goodwill, “out-of-the-box” thinking, and the direct impact on her bottom line.

Downtime moved from “overhead” on the accounting sheet to almost a scheduling frustration. Why? Simply because she recognized there were opportunities to take what she already had – the physical space and childcare capabilities – to an often forgotten demographic: moms of preschoolers desperate for some time to feel good about themselves.

We’ve seen several years of innovative technologies in our collective coin-op industries. And it seems we’re entering that wondrous stage of innovative thinking to match.

Cheers to a prosperous 2007.


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