Reviewing the past year’s accomplishments within the micro market industry, three themes emerge: acquisitions, new technology and additional prominence of the industry within the overall U.S. economy.
1. Acquisitions and Partnerships
Several prominent companies within the micro market industry developed partnerships and made acquisitions over the course of 2019, including the following:
- 365 Retail Markets acquired Company Kitchen, a technology company headquartered in Merriam, Kansas, that supports micro markets. It also signed a new, long-term exclusive contract with full-line vending machine company TGL Vending of Dallas, Texas. Finally, it signed a media content agreement with Advana, an advertising technology company that brings brand content to consumers through 365 Retail Markets’ digital screens.
- Yoke Payments™ has partnered with Group C to design and install 500 Yoke micro markets by Q4 of 2020. Yoke Payments also has partnered with Randolph Sheppard Vendors of Wisconsin to support job growth for visually impaired people who desire to be independent entrepreneurs and business operators.
- Five Star Food Service acquired multiple businesses: Atlanta-based Southern Refreshment Services; Knoxville, Tennesse-based Star Vending; Jonesboro, Georgia-based Tara Vending and Nature’s Big Spring Water, a Knoxville, Tennessee business that had been owned by Calhoun, GA-based J&J Water, Inc.
- Three Square Market partnered with Pittsburgh’s James Vending and JV Marketplace to open its seventh self-pay convenience store at the Galleria Mall in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, on April 4. Three Square Market is driven to open over 100 of these stores this year.
2. New technology
Gimme, which creates unattended retail technology that provides micro market companies with data to streamline productivity and boost sales, made several accomplishments this year, including
- Making a seven-figure deal for Gimme Key, a wireless DEX adapter for direct store delivery, with HighJump, a global provider of supply chain solutions. The deal made Gimme a part of tens of thousands of driving routes in direct store delivery.
- Making AutoDrive, software that automates the creation of planograms and inventories, publicly available.
- Launching the Markets mobile app, which allows route drivers to inventory markets twice as quickly, even without cell signal. Drivers can use the same single device throughout their entire route. Automatic Merchandiser featured Lincoln County Vending, which has been part of the Markets app testing from the beginning, in its October 2019 issue.
3. Micro markets receive additional recognition, with remarkable success among better-for-you options
The consumer trend toward better-for-you was among the highlights from individual micro market operators. Legislation, too, can be counted among the achievements of the year for the industry.
- Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed into law HB 1055, which provides a clear-cut definition of micro markets and a license fee structure for operators in the state. The Oklahoma Vending Association and the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) partnered to lobby in favor of this bill.
- Farmer’s Fridge, which produces freshly made meals that are distributed via vending machines, was named in TIME’s 100 Best Inventions this year.
- Oh My Green, a provider of healthy food and wellness services for offices through services such as micro markets, added a whopping 100 new clients since January 2019. These developments of 2019 within the automatic retail industry help establish what to expect in the year to come.
These developments of 2019 within the automatic retail industry help establish what to expect in the year to come.