Arriving at this year’s show, l was met by lots of young athletic people in sports wear walking about offering free bottled and, after the long hot journey into Birmingham NEC, this was a welcome sight!
The show was buzzing! It’s one of a few that l have visited this year to have busy aisles continuously. The huge interest in the leisure market spoke for itself! Stands varied from those selling sports equipment to exercise and training equipment, memberships and even pole dancing classes!
Why was l attending? Over the last few years vending operators and manufacturers have been taking more of a interest in developing relationships within the leisure sector and l was interested and surprised to see how this synergy has expanded since last year’s visit.
Kaj Abrahamsen from Arcadia Associates had a stand promoting healthy eating with his fruit and energy bars. His low fat low calorie bars are already a favourite with vending machines and popular within the educational environment.
All Things Nice Vending were displaying Sweet and Toy vending machines. Autobar had taken a large stand and were on hand to provide expert advice and solutions for leisure operators. Cummins Allison were exhibiting their cash handling solutions, including coin and currency counters suitable for leisure centres and outdoor heavy duty theme park use.
Espressione, an independent supplier of coffee machines with equipment available from different manufacturers, were offering advice and different levels of service suitable for the individual business. Eurogift, specialist in capsule toys and vending machines, with licenses for children’s favourites such as: Sponge Bob, Dora and Spiderman. Happy Days Vending exhibited their self-service Candy Floss machine which they say gives extra spend per head in venues.
Leisure Vend Operating Ltd is the UK leader in supplying coin operated weighing machines, which can be operated on a profit share within leisure centre and swimming pools.
The Lucozade Hydro Active stand was difficult to get onto as they were offering free samples to thirsty leisure enthusiasts and many of the exhibitors with whom they were busy doing demonstrations.
Watercooler company Maestro launched their new model 701 along with a section of plumbed in water coolers and drinking fountains. Nestlé Waters were promoting Vittel Mineral Water with emphasis on calcium and magnesium replacement for exercisers.
Another healthy eating concept came from Otter Valley Organic Foods, who were offering Organic Energy Bars along with Organic Mighty Muesli and Power Porridge. Let’s hope we see the Bar if not the others in vending machines soon, although the thought of a Power Porridge to start my day would be a good idea!
Toyvend had on show some eye catching machines which were suitable for more than leisure environments with a variety of rental purchase options.
Overall, vending representation was up 50% against 2006 and l know next year we will see more exhibitors from our industry.