Essence of Coffee

Later this month the National Automatic Merchandizing Association will introduce its “Essence of Coffee” educational program at the Coffee, Tea and Water Show in New Orleans Nov.12-14. The new program expects to boost coffee business for sales professionals, managers, route sales managers and many others throughout the service coffee industry.

The “Essence of Coffee” series at the CTW Show will describe the origins of coffee roasting, grinding, and all the steps necessary to put coffee in the consumer’s hands. Participants will also learn how to take the past, present and future of the coffee service industry into account when working to grow sales.

USI stands at the cutting edge providing world class machines for the service coffee industry. The Geneva Coffee Machine can dispense up to 36 different combinations of hot /coffee beverages directly to the consumer. Customers can customize the exact beverage they want any time of the day. The CT Vending Machine is a great investment because it controls coffee pod dispensing for up to 16 different flavors. This season NAMA and USI are ready to assist the coffee service industry keep their customers warm, energized and satisfied all winter and beyond.

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U-Select-It Hosts Training Event for National Association of Blind Merchants

In conjunction with the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM), U-Select-It, Inc. (USI) hosted NABM members for an on-site training event at USI’s corporate headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. The training focused on current technology related to accessibility and suggestions on how to further improve vending machine accessibility.

The NABM training event featured a diverse range of topics including State specific updates, a briefing from the Rehabilitation Services Administration, a discussion on opportunities for BEP vendors in inmate commissaries, and a report from the National Council of State Agencies for the Blind.

“This training was part of NABM’s ongoing effort to ensure that state business enterprises staff and blind entrepreneurs have the latest information to help grow their business,” said Nicky Gacos, President of the National Association of Blind Merchants.  “We truly appreciate the role USI played in the training and for their gracious hospitality.”

The NABM customer is always considered by USI when producing vending machines. “The opportunity to co-host this event allows USI the ability to hear what is important to this distinguished customer group, especially in terms of accessibility and technology. Our product development roadmap is greatly influenced by this type of event and we are grateful to have the chance to participate with such a hands on organization as the NABM/BEP,” said Jim Chico, President of Sales of USI.

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10 year anniversary of 2008 recession – are convenience services helping create a strong U.S economy?

This month marks the anniversary of the 2008 market crash in which millions lost their jobs and homes. That year, the economy was losing roughly 170,000 jobs a month with a total of 700,000 jobs lost in the last two months of the year alone.

Luckily, our economy has grown a great deal since that tumultuous time.

America’s unemployment rate currently stands at 4% — the best it’s ever been in the U.S since the late 1960s. The economy is growing, unemployment is at an all time low and wealth levels are rising.

Just how much of this has to do with the convenience services industry? More than you might think. The convenience services industry—which includes small business owners, manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers—delivers nearly $25 billion yearly to the U.S. economy. In addition to this economic impact, the industry provides over 140,000 jobs with an estimate of $7.2 billion in employee wages.

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), an association of business professionals who operate in the convenience service industry, including industries such as  vending, micro market, office coffee, and pantry services as well as foodservice is a large participant in the industry. From Silicon Valley to Des Moines to Wall Street, these companies provide other businesses, large and small, with food and beverages that power their employees’ productivity.

U-Select-It is proud to be a member of NAMA. Backed by over 85 years of manufacturing vending products, U-Select-It currently stands as one of the most reliable names in the business. As easy to operate as they are to maintain, U-Select-it’s vending merchandisers are ideal for all types of establishments, both large and small. From waiting rooms too break areas, U-Select-It  products provide the best in refreshment when it is needed most.

To learn more about U-Select-It and for more vending news, visit

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We are proud to announce that Ashley Hubler, CMO of U-Select-It, has been named a 2018 NAMA Scholar!

Earlier this September, the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) Foundation announced four 2018 NAMA Scholars. U-Select-It is proud to announce that one of whom is our very own Ashley Hubler, Chief Marketing Officer of U-Select-It!

2018 NAMA Scholars:

Steve Boucher – Regional Director, Compass Group / Canteen

Jonathon Holden – Director of Sales, All Star Services

Ashley Hubler – Chief Marketing Officer, U-Select-It

Hans Lutkefedder – Vice President, Operations, Vend Natural Holdings

Ashley Hubler, CMO, U-Select-It

The NAMA Scholars program is exclusively for association members and offers scholarships to support workforce development in the convenience services industry. This year, the NAMA Foundation is awarding four scholarships to NAMA’s EDP at Michigan State University, including one scholarship supported by NAMA’s Emerging Leaders Network (ELN).

As Chief Marketing Officer at U-Select-It, Ashley Hubler is responsible for linking the innovations of the company’s product team to the customer-focused operations to build the brand, shape the value proposition, and create consumer awareness through all channels. In this role, Ashley oversees the enterprise marketing strategy of U-Select-It including consumer insights, digital marketing, creative development and agency management, marketing effectiveness, lead generation, and media communications.  

The National Automatic Merchandising Association is a 501(c)3 charitable organization on a mission to strengthen and advance the convenience services industry through strategic support of advocacy, education and research initiatives.

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The Advantages of Vending Machines Over Micro Markets

Micro markets first appeared on the convenience services scene around 2005 and have seen exponential growth across the industry. Although they have a look and feel similar to a convenience store, they are similar to vending machines due to their self-service capabilities.

On the surface, micro markets seem like a no-brainer for vending machine operators. A single micro market can hold anywhere from 150-400 products, while vending machines can hold about 40 products. However, the additional selection of products comes at a cost.   For many operators diversifying their businesses by adding micro markets comes with hidden costs in terms of time and money from both an implementation and day-to-day operations standpoint.

More SKUs = Increase Inventory Costs

If you are not ready to spend additional time into managing your inventory, you may want to think twice before entering into micro markets.  In Automatic Merchandiser’s 2016 article, “The Hidden Costs of Micro Markets,” Pete Johnson, Food & Beverage Manager of Quail Mountain Vending, comments on the complexities and costs associated with managing an increased amount of product SKUs offered by micro markets.  

“The sheer labor cost of changing inventories and backend work to make sure every product goes into your store and comes out of your store will be surprising when you first get into micro markets,” said Johnson.  

In addition, depending on the type of products you are selling, you may need to upgrade your vehicles as well. For example, if you plan to sell frozen products and your vehicles are not refrigerated, then you will have to shell out extra money on freezers or coolers, which can cost as much as $10,000.

An advantage of a more limited range of SKUs offered by vending machines is that you can still offer customers the most popular products while creating efficiencies in your backroom inventory process.  Plus, with a more limited range of SKUs, you are more likely to have a lower spoilage rate than if you have two or three times as many SKUs.

Open Access = Product Shrinkage Due to Theft

Shrinkage due to theft is common in the retail sector and likewise it is especially prevalent when it comes to micro markets. According to Automatic Merchandiser’s article, “The Hidden Costs of Micro Markets,” Rod Nester, president of Clarinda, Iowa -based Smith Vending, found out about this firsthand.

“We can burn two or three days trying to go through footage and working with clients to resolve theft issues,” said Nester.  “Pretty soon I’m spending $400 to $600 in lost time to catch someone who stole a $1.50 bag of chips. It’s expensive,” said Nester.

Traditional vending machines do not face these problems because the consumer pays for the product before receiving it.

More Data = Increased Software Costs

The cost structure is another concern when it comes to considering micro markets. While many micro market software platforms can identify what product is selling, where it is selling, when it is selling and in some cases, who is buying it, some operators find this level of data unnecessary considering the high costs associated with the software. A few years ago, Kim Curtis, president of Good Stuff Vending, found the provider costs so prohibitive that she went out and created her own micro market software.

“We do not have 50 or 100 markets – we have three – and the monthly fee I would have had to pay were too high for the number of markets I operate and the revenues they bring in,” said Curtis.

The cost of entering micro markets has gone down significantly in recent years, but there are still substantial drawbacks. While vending machines might not offer as much product variety as a micro market, they provide security, are easy to manage, and have minimal software costs.


For more information about USI’s vending equipment, visit



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NAMA Highlights Industry’s Economic Contribution In Latest Census

In 2018, a census was conducted by the National Automatic Merchandising Association, or NAMA for short, to measure the size, scope, and value to the United States of the vending, office refreshments and micro market industry.

Extensive research on the economic impact of the convenience services industry was conducted by Dunham and Associates, a firm based in Brooklyn, NY. The company was founded with the intent to meet the demand for credible, verifiable economic data for use in advocacy.

Dunham’s research identified over 5,200 separate establishments within the industry, and found that they represent, on average, 430 jobs for every one million Americans. Each of those jobs had the effect of creating 1.3 jobs, which is an abnormally large number in the retail business.

The total economic impact of the entire convenience services industry is just under $25 billion. The industry itself is directly and indirectly responsible for about 140,475 full-time jobs and has paid out about $7.2 billion in wages.

Of those 140,475 full-times jobs, about 60,633 of those jobs come from vending operators, machine manufacturing, and brokers. Vending operators make up the largest share with 53,420 jobs being created directly by them. Their total economic impact alone totaled about $10.1 billion.

New York is one of the biggest contributors to the economic impact of the convenience services industry. New York’s total output is somewhere around $1.1 billion and has paid out just under $350 million in wages. In terms of workers, there are about 5,683 full-time jobs available.

Over 67% of convenience services industry operators have a diversified business model. The industry itself paid about $3.5 billion in business taxes, with roughly half being paid towards federal taxes and the other half going to state taxes.

Dunham’s research also found that about 34,750 jobs are indirectly impacted by the convenience services industry. Of that amount, about 12,458 jobs were generated by business & personal services, which resulted in an economic impact of just under $1.5 billion.

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Sneak peak of the NAMA Coffee, Tea, and Water Show 2018

Registration for NAMA’s Coffee, Tea and Water Show (CTW) has officially opened to the public!

The Coffee, Tea and Water Show (CTW) delivers insight into the “workplace of the future” by showcasing new technologies and industry trends that are impacting business and driving change into the $4.25 billion U.S coffee services industry. The event is meant to foster education, networking, and growth within the industry.

U-Select-It is proud to be a part of the upcoming show on November 12th-14th at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans.

Here’s are some activities and topic of conversation at this year’s CTW show:

This year, there will also be a new and exciting Product Showcase and People’s Choice Awards! CTW will feature a showcase dedicated to new products and technologies that serve the field. CTW attendees will have the chance to see, touch and even taste the new offerings being introduced into the industry and vote for their favorites!

U-Select-It will be presenting our Geneva Coffee and CTop machines.

genevaGeneva has two distinct styled machines, silver and black, allowing you to personalize your vending choice. Available in either instant or fresh brew configurations, coffee vending options include regular, decaf, espresso, cappuccino, cafe latte, cafe mocha, hot chocolate, or tea. With a state-of-the-art brewing system, precise ingredient controls, and up to 36 different combinations, coffee vending has never been so easy.

CTop Vending Machine

Our new CTop Vending Machine provides professional, secure dispensing of single serve coffee pods, including K-Cup®. Simple, reliable, proven dispensing and payment systems integrate seamlessly into your current vending business allowing you to increase sales opportunities. Its small, convenient footprint allows placement on standard 36″ countertop with 18″ cabinet to counter spacing. Manufactured in the USA, the CTop Vending Machine has a 256 single serve coffee pod capacity with a glass front display for simple live menu changeability. With energy saving LED lighting and iVend® guaranteed delivery system, our pod vending machine is the latest technology within coffee vending.

To learn more about our machines, visit our website.

To register for the event, visit

Until next time,

USI Logo


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Sneak Peek of Atlantic Coast Exposition (ACE) 2018


Are you looking forward to the 2018 Atlantic Coast Exposition (ACE)?

The Atlantic Coast Exposition is a three-day trade show featuring suppliers to the vending, office coffee and food service industry. The exhibit attracts all of the major industry suppliers of product, equipment, and services.

U-Select-It is proud to be an exhibitor at the upcoming show on October 11th-13th at Embassy Suites Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

This year’s exciting theme is “Sand, Sun & Fun” – the event is sure to be the perfect mix of work and play.

Here’s are some topics of conversation to be expected at this year’s ACE show:

All work and no play? No way. This year, ACE will be hosting all of the following events:

U-Select-It will be featuring our Evoke Snack 6 merchandiser.


To learn more about our machines, visit our website.

To register for the event, visit

Until next time,

USI Logo

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Global Developments are Leading to a Greater Reliance on Mobile Transactions

pay range


As anyone can tell you, technology around the world is expanding at breakneck speed and is most noticeable right in the palm of your hand. Apps ranging from topics such as communication to games to productivity are changing the way we live. They are even changing the way we pay.

Mobile Payments On The Rise

According to a report by Allied Market Research, increased usage of smartphones as well as the need for smoother transactions are driving the mobile-payments market which is expected to reach a value of over three billion dollars in the next five years. People are becoming more accustomed to making digital payments even for smaller amounts. This trend is showing that digital transactions are on the rise, poised to overtake cash payments for the number one way small transactions are made.

Industry Giant, PayPal, is  getting into the mobile payment side and also keeping up with the trend. They have recently acquired financial tech company iZettle, creating a payment powerhouse.  iZettle is known for hardware and software targeted to smaller businesses.

“Small businesses are the engine of the global economy and we are continuing to expand our platform to help them compete and win online, in-store and via mobile,” said PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman. “iZettle and PayPal are a strategic fit, with a shared mission, values and culture-and complementary product offerings and geographies”

Mobile Payment Within Vending

PayRange is helping the vending industry keep up with the mobile payment trend by working with key partners such as U-Select-It. Through this partnership,  PayRange is built in to U-Select-It’s new, open-architecture FLEX control board. The FLEX board is featured in the new Evoke Snack series machines, as well as across its full vending equipment product line. This out-of-the box integration provides customers with a no hardware cost  mobile payment option that drives vending product sales.

Why Consumers Love PayRange

Convenience today means consumers get what they want, where and when they want it.  With PayRange mobile payment system, consumers simply swipe and go. Consumers love PayRange because it is Simple, Fast, and Secure.


Gone are the days of digging for loose change or waiting for your card to process.  With a swipe up on your phone, making vending product payments is simple.


Faster than inserting coins into a machine, PayRange is the quickest way to pay for products from vending machines.  Use all major credit and debit cards or add funds via Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Masterpass.


Paying with your phone is the smart and safe way.  Your card details are never sent to the machine. Plus, adding funds to your wallet is simple.

Want to learn more about USI’s Evoke Snack series featuring on-board PayRange mobile payment capability? Call us at 1-800-247-8709 or fill out this form.


Until next time,

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Don’t miss out! Save the date for the 2018 NAMA DC Fly-In

Don’t forget – the NAMA DC Fly-In is coming up this July!

Join U-Select-It along with other  business and industry leaders in Washington, D.C for two powerful days, the 24th and 25th this July, of letting your voice be heard in Congress! U-Select-It (USI) is proud to announce our participation as a sponsor of NAMA’s signature advocacy event – the 2018 DC Fly In.

New for this year, sessions have been added geared to various NAMA constituencies: Women in the Industry (WIN), Emerging Leaders Network (ELN), suppliers, and machine manufacturers. And of course, we will be spending Wednesday with policy makers on Capitol Hill talking about issues important to the industry.

Plus, NAMA recently announced that Kyle Trygstad, National Journal Hotline editor, will be the featured speaker Tuesday, July 24 at the association’s Fly-In Evening Reception.

“With his perspective, as a seasoned political media professional, Kyle will share an ‘insider’s view’ oKyf the upcoming elections. Hired out of college by NBC-TV’s Chuck Todd, Kyle will deliver remarks, followed by a dynamic Q and A session, making this another ‘don’t miss’ event for our industry,” said Jason Eberstein, Government Affairs Director of NAMA.

Fly In attendees will advocate on behalf of the industry on issues related to calorie disclosure, commercialization of rest areas on interstate highways and promoting the economic impact of the industry.  Below are a few examples of how NAMA’s Government Affairs team works to protect and promote members and the convenience service industry.

dc fly in

Registration for the Fly-In is free for NAMA members; family members and colleagues are also invited.  Are you attending?

By attending, you can:

Watch this video to see first-hand testimonials about how NAMA affects the hundreds of people participating in this event!

“Fly-In participants will have a very positive experience,” NAMA legislative affairs director Jason Eberstein predicts. “Together, we can do much more work, with greater meaning and benefit for all.”

Founded in 1936, NAMA (The National Automatic Merchandising Association) is the association representing the $25 billion U.S. convenience services industry. With more than 1,100 member companies – including many of the world’s most recognized brands – NAMA provides advocacy, education and research for its membership. Visit NAMA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can register for the Fly-In here. Hope to see you there!

Until next time,

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