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Press Release

The NAMA Show 2018: Bringing People, Products and Possibilities Together in Las Vegas

CHICAGO – April 12, 2018 – The newly-branded NAMA Show returned to Las Vegas, bringing the industry together for a show delivering innovative new features, expanded educational programming and valuable business growth opportunities.

“The industry came together in force for this year’s dynamic NAMA show, with more than 4,400 attendees and 313 exhibiting companies,” said Lindsey Nelson, Vice President of Programs and Services. “With the highest exhibitor count to date, 84 exhibiting companies were first time-participants. Attendees came from around the world, representing 41 countries. Industry decision-makers explored more than 80,000 square feet of show floor space and discovered more than 100 new products.”

New Features This Year

  • Convenience Central – This member engagement space was the heartbeat of the show floor, serving as the primary location for attendees to network, conduct one-on-one meetings, engage with staff and participate in customized product demonstrations.
  • New Product Zone – Featuring more than 100 new products, attendees scanned items of greatest interest and, in real time, received a summary listing and show floor locations for those new products.
  • NAMA Cares – Designed to deliver concierge-level services, NAMA launched a dedicated customer service hotline to address all attendee and exhibitor questions. This service was further enhanced onsite with the NAMA Cares service counter.
  • Captivation Station – Situated in a geodesic dome on the trade show floor, this intimate and engaging space hosted 10 exhibitor presentations with an estimated 250 attendees. Customer engagement, connectivity, networking, and a session focused on increasing sales, targeted specifically for small operators were featured topics.

General Session

Sponsored by PepsiCo, the General Session featured two keynote speakers, futurist Brian Solis and political analyst Matthew Dowd, in a dynamic, interactive format. Addressing leadership, innovation and the speed of change, Solis and Dowd delivered two unique, but interrelated segments immediately followed by a “power huddle” conversation led by Carla Balakgie.

The General Session also unveiled a dynamic new video, This is Convenience Services, designed to answer the question ‘how does the convenience services industry make consumers’ lives better?’ and amplify the message that the industry focuses on meeting consumers where they are.

Annual industry awards, hosted by NAMA Chair Heidi Chico, were a special highlight with a ceremony honoring: Industry Person of the Year, Joe Hessling; Allied Member of the Year, Mike Lawlor; and Operator of the Year, Jeff Smith.


The 2018 NAMA Show presented its most comprehensive educational line-up in the show’s history, doubling the number of breakout sessions offered in 2017. Education kicked off with three pre-conference sessions on micro markets, leading sales strategies, and operating a successful convenience services business. Pre-conference programs also included a workshop developed by the National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) regarding the Randolph Sheppard Act.

Five highly customized tracks of education – Business Development, Technology, Business Operations, Consumer/Marketplace Trends and Politics & Policy -- were offered for more than 1,800 participants.

Included in the line-up was a customized program for alumni of NAMA’s Executive Development Program (EDP), and a 75-minute sales session for small operators held on the show floor.

A selection of education downloads are available on the show website:


Dynamic networking opportunities and special events included:

  • International Gathering - International attendees enjoyed an invitation-only event in the New Product Zone, to see the many product innovations happening in the US market and network with industry leaders from around the world.
  • WIN and ELN - NAMA’s WIN and ELN groups each held their own growing and ever-popular networking events – WIN at Mandalay Bay’s Minus 5 and ELN at the Linq’s High Roller. WIN also hosted a meet and greet with special guest, President & CEO of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Hattie Hill.
  • Executive Forum – More than 70 alumni from the Executive Forum Alumni 2016 and 2017 events reunited for networking and brunch, where Joe Hessling of 365 Retail Markets, and planning chair of EF 3.0, facilitated an inspiring and interesting discussion with Mitch Lowe, CEO of MoviePass.

“Building on the success and momentum of an exciting week, The NAMA Show exhibitor community donated more than 16,690 pounds of food – the equivalent of 13,900 meals - to Three Square, a Nevada food bank. Many thanks to our exhibitors for giving back to the local community,” Nelson said.

“The NAMA team would like to extend a huge thank you to all who helped make The NAMA Show a success. See you April 24-26, 2019 in Las Vegas,” Nelson concluded.

NAMA represents the $34.9 billion U.S. Convenience Services Industry. By providing advocacy, education, and research, NAMA works to promote and protect the industry’s over 160,000 hardworking employees. Through traditional vending and micro markets, office coffee and pantry services, product manufacturing, and small-drop distribution, convenience services meets the needs of over 40 million American consumers daily at work, home, school, and play.

Manager, Communications & Marketing
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