USelectIt / 728×90 / 2019


Owner, Jensen Marketing, LLC and Mesilla Valley Snacks

Bill Jensen has more than 26 years of experience in sales, marketing, and general management positions at Fortune 500 Companies in the electronics and automotive industries. He is a small business consultant with proven success and is also the owner of Jensen Marketing, LLC which purchased full line vending operator Mesilla Valley Snacks in 2009. Today, Mesilla Valley Snacks, located in Las Cruces, is the only locally owned, full service vending company operating in Dona Ana County.

You are a FitPick user, what do you like about the program?

FitPick makes it easy for customers to determine which products are healthy in the vending machine. Consumers want options that are better for them, but providing customers with nutritious choices is useless unless they are able to locate those products in the machine. FitPick eliminates confusion and quickly guides customers through the selection and purchasing process.

Why did you start using FitPick?

Some third-party vending management companies require that operators have healthy vending selections in each of their machines. In many cases, these contracts require machines to carry a certain percentage of healthy selections. Adopting FitPick helped ensure that I would meet the requirements of almost any third-party management company.

Which audience in your business is most interested in healthy vending options?

FitPick appeals to all customer locations. Obesity is everywhere, and consumers have a growing interest in combating illnesses and diseases associated with poor eating habits. All operation locations experience demand for nutritious choices.

What is the customer feedback on FitPick?

It is always important to remember that operators are not in the vending business – they are in the service business. Our job is to serve and satisfy customers. Consumers are thrilled and delighted that we have taken steps to supply them with and educate them on healthy food and snack options.

Have you faced any challenges in adopting the program?

Certain healthy foods cost more than less nutritious options. I assumed this would be a deterrent for consumers and would cause a decrease in sales. The beauty of FitPick, however, is that it includes products that actually sell and have a shelf life. Many products come from standard distributors with whom customers are familiar. The program is extraordinarily easy to implement and integrate into any vending operation.

What would you tell other operators considering the FitPick program?

It is essential that you pay attention to what is happening in the industry. The Affordable Care Act and USDA and school regulations mandate changes for all food service providers. We must take action and adapt to the new, healthier consumer landscape. Listen to your customers, and pay attention to the healthy options they are demanding. Go with the flow or be a dinosaur.

President & Co-Owner, Mark Vend Company
Mark Stein is president and co-owner, with his brother Daniel Stein, of Mark Vend Company. The company was founded by their parents Andy and Bonnie in 1962. Mark Vend started in the family home, and grew steadily, primarily out of its core values of quality and service. As their firstborn, and the company’s namesake, Mark was raised in the business, and has worked in the business fulltime since 1982.

Mark has been actively involved with both NAMA and IAMC, the Illinois Automatic Merchandising Council. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of The National Automatic Merchandising Association, has served on the Board of Governors for IAMC and was in the inaugural class of the NCE designated, NAMA Certified Executives. Mark also served as president of Better Vendors Association (BVA), a national non-profit purchasing cooperative, owned by independent operators and designed to help members gain the best rebates from national consumer recognized suppliers.

You are a FitPick user, what do you like about the program?

FitPick provides a ready-made solution to a business need. Because of FitPick, I was able to quickly and easily meet changing nutrition standards and respond to an increasing consumer demand for healthy snack and food options.

Why did you start using FitPick?

I adopted FitPick as a direct response to consumer demands. Many vending operators will notice an influx of requests for healthier food and snack options and will bend over backwards to quickly meet those needs. FitPick helped ensure that all of my customers were satisfied.

What is the customer feedback on FitPick?

My consumers were the main reason I adopted FitPick. Most of them were incredibly happy to see new, nutritious options in my machines – especially the customers who directly requested them. Users who were not as concerned with the healthy offerings quickly adapted to the changes. Small adjustments, like replacing snack crackers and chips with baked versions of the same items, satisfied health-oriented customers without disrupting the behaviors of other consumers.

How has FitPick affected your business?

In terms of sales, FitPick has not had a dramatic impact on my business. Because of the programs customization options, I am able to keep my historically best-selling items stocked at all times and to adjust FitPick offerings as necessary to better match customer preferences.

How did schools respond to the new FitPick offerings?

Every principal that I work with defines his or her own parameters for vending machine offerings. Regulations and standards vary widely, but FitPick meets all of them. Schools were generally eager to adopt FitPick and were excited to have found a program that clearly met all of their nutrition requirements for student snack choices.

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