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Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Embassy Suites, Jamaican Court, Orlando, Florida

Friday, December 7, 2018

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 8:35 a.m. Vice Chairman Alton Palmore called the role.

The following individuals were present:
James Warth, Chairman
Alton Palmore, Vice Chairman 

District Representatives: Georgia Kellogg, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Terri Lindstrom, District 3; Darryl Brinton, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; Sead Bekric, District 7; Steve Barnes, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Lilian Pemberton, District 10. 

Bureau of Business Enterprise Staff: Bill Findley, Bureau Chief; Maureen Fink, Operations Manager; Alan Risk, Compliance Officer; John Ahler, Business Analyst; Greg Coon, Marketing and Site Development Manager; Brian Ashworth, Region 1 Business Consultant; Bernie Kaiserian, Region 2 Business Consultant; Jaime Payne, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Alejandro Garcia, Region 6 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant.

Division of Blind Services: Robert Doyle, Division Director and Mitchell Clark, Bureau Chief of Operations and Compliance

Licensed Vendors: Kurt Ponchak, District 1 Alternate; Mike McCrea, District 3 Alternate; Jim Anderson, Region 6 Alternate; David Kaplan, Region 9 Alternate; Mitzi Bowen, Tom Saunders, Chuck Fickett, TJ McCormick

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Instructors, Steve Moss and Rachel Boltz; snack bar trainers, Angela Elgaard and Agnes Kardos and trainee Daniel Roth.

Presenters: Ed Diaz and Shelley Carr of Seven-Up Snapple Southeast

Guests: Patty Angel

Review of the August 2018 Minutes – Janet Chernoff
Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes of the August meeting and the special meeting held by conference call in September. The full minutes had been emailed to all Committee members. Georgia Kellogg moved to accept the minutes. Seconded by Sead Bekric. Passed by voice vote.   

BBE Updates – Bill Findley
Greg Coon has taken over the Marketing and Site Development position. Quality assurance will be added to his duties and he will be working with vendors on expanding their businesses. Greg worked as the Region 3 Business Consultant for seven years, has a food service background and worked with franchising which entailed growing a business and adding locations. Jaime Payne is now the Region 3 Business Consultant. Angela Elgaard and Agnes Kardos are the new trainers in the Daytona Beach Rehab Center snack bar and Rachel Boltz has been hired to replace Jill Richardson who retired in November. Sarah Escobedo had been approved for the Region 5 Consultant position, but she did not respond to calls or emails. Another candidate has been recommended and the program is waiting for approval of his employment package.  

Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle area on October 10, 2018 and impacted a number of vendors in the area. Most severely affected were vendors Alton Palmore, Michael Wells, Joe Bragg and Marylynn Giles-Robinson. Alton Palmore is the operator of Facility 619, military dining in Panama City that was closed for over two weeks and reopened on October 26, 2018. Alton’s home was destroyed and he had to evacuate to Dothan, Alabama. Marylynn Giles-Robinson’s location and home were both effected and she and husband spent several days in a shelter. Her facility is doing limited service. Joe Bragg’s home was destroyed and he is currently living with family in Destin. Only one of the three rest areas that comprise his facility has reopened and the Department of Transportation (DOT) is still evaluating the other two locations to determine whether to repair or rebuild. Bill Findley and Brian Ashworth are regularly checking on the status of these locations. Mike Wells’ rest area was closed for a month but has reopened. Options were discussed for the two vendors, Joe Bragg and Marylynn Giles-Robinson that were most impacted by the storm. Joe Bragg can participate in the upcoming selection cycle and the program would consider waiving the one year requirement for Marylynn. Hopefully the prison and Sunland locations will return to full business in the near future and Marylynn has the Panama City route on a Type II. The possibility of an administrative appointment was discussed. The Bureau Chief and Committee Chairman can elect to give a vendor an administrative appointment when a vendor loses a facility through no fault of their own. Two possibilities would be Facility 388, US Naval Station vending or Facility 416, I-4 rest area. Either facility would require the vendor to relocate. Generally the Division tries to give an administrative appointment that is comparable to the vendor’s current facility. One thought was that if Joe Bragg was given an administrative appointment, Marylynn could service the remaining rest area. Marylynn Giles-Robinson has indicated that she would prefer not to move. Other options were discussed including the fair minimum return allowed by the Randolph-Sheppard Act and the possibility of loss of income insurance for vendors. No decision on a possible administrative appointment will be made until there is more definitive information on the status of the locations. Both Joe Bragg and Marylynn Giles-Robinson are working with the Division of Blind Services (DBS) to get maintenance payments to make up for the loss of income.

Phil Hubbard inquired on the status of Tyndall Air Force Base (AFB). The Division planned to file in federal court because Tyndall was refusing to abide by the arbitration decision. The base was destroyed by the hurricane and no determination has been made on whether it will be rebuilt. Phil felt that the program should continue to pursue legal action. The program has advised Tyndall that it would want vending in any new buildings, but feels it would be counterproductive to pursue any other action at this time.

The program is working with the Office of the General Counsel on the problem of direct competition from the gift shops at NASA. The program believes that the NASA Inspector General needs to review their directives as the program believes that they are not following their own policies. Phil indicated that he is willing to meet NASA halfway but he wants them to recognize that they are wrong and limit their food offerings.

The program has been working with Lee County on acquiring countywide vending. Two agreements have been finalized and need to be signed by the Department of Education (DOE). Lee County would like to have them signed before their Commission meeting in mid-December.

Bill Findley, Tony Arduengo and Jim Warth along with other vendors attended the BLAST conference in Texas in November. There were speakers on worldwide demographics and generational differences. A presentation focused on the buying habits of the millennial generation who are demanding healthier products and prefer cashless payment systems. Bill recommended that vendors try healthy products and network with other vendors to see what sells. Tony attended a session on micro-market and Jim Warth indicated that networking is one of the most important aspects of the conference. Jim talked to a representative of RSA and he said that they were getting two more staff members and will start monitoring programs. Sead Bekric asked if the program should host BLAST in 2021. The program will wait to make a determination and will consider the budget, plans for the conference and the status of the program with the incoming administration.

The contract for the military dining at Key West has been extended to January 31, 2019. The solicitation for the next contract has not been sent out and the program has not received an answer to inquiry on the status. The current contract can be extended for another month and a half. The existing operator would remain if there was an extension. The program is still pursuing the vending at Eglin AFB and has filed for arbitration. An arbitration hearing is scheduled for Hulburt Field in January. The program was not allowed to participate in the solicitation for Hulbert because it was only open to small businesses and they consider the program to be part of the State of Florida. The program is still providing services at Camp Blanding. It was expected that this contract would have already ended, but Camp Blanding needs to provide proof to the US Department of Education that food service will be 100% provided by uniformed personnel. The program has budgeted $103,000 per month for this contract but the amounts have been lower. One month was only $70,000 and December is not expected to exceed $50,000. The contract for the military dining at Panama City is in its final year and the program has requested direct negotiations for the new contract.

Budget Update – Bill Findley, Mitchell Clark, Robert Doyle
The program used $847,000 of the spending authority from 2018-2019 budget to pay for military dining payments from 2017-2018. The program has sufficient budget authority for this year’s military dining but had to use some of that authority to pay last year’s payments. Mitchell Clark explained to the committee members that the BBE budget has two funds. There is 1.5 million for the vending stands and an additional four million for the military contracts. Mitchell told the committee that the monies for the military contracts would not impact other program expenses. Three hundred thousand dollars from another funding category is projected to be moved to cover a portion of the $847,000 from the previous fiscal year. If payments to the military contracts remain at the expected levels this would leave a balance of $313,000. This would be paid during the 2019-2020 fiscal year when another $300,000 can be moved from another funding category. This should only delay the payments a month or so. Military dining payments should be lower than planned as a result of the following: military dining at Panama City was closed for seventeen days, Camp Blanding has had smaller payments because they are serving fewer meals and the payments for the military dining at the Pensacola Hospital have been lower because cafeteria profits may be applied to the payment. Robert Doyle explained that the program has sufficient monies to cover its military contracts and only the spending authority was insufficient to cover the military payments in 2017-2018. Kurt Ponchak expressed concern that the figures on the spreadsheets provided had changed. Mitchell explained that the payments are sometimes lower than expected. When this happens the program will have a savings. Kurt Ponchak wants the Committee to resolve the budget situation. Georgia Kellogg made a motion that the finance subcommittee be allowed to do its job and work with the Division to resolve the situation. The motion was not seconded and was later withdrawn. The budget is complicated and some of the concerns may be a result of a lack of understanding of how the monies are handled. Kurt wants to be able to answer vendor questions. Phil Hubbard confirmed that the payment delay only effected military dining and would not impact day to day operations of the program. The finance subcommittee will continue to work with the Division to make sure that vendors have a clear understanding of the budget. Bill Findley reported that as of October 31, 2018 the Bank of America account that set aside monies are deposited in has $141,549.70 and the state treasury accounts used to pay program expenses had $173,234.65.

Working Capital Discussion – Kurt Ponchak
Per rule vendors in a repayment plan are not allowed to participate in the selection cycle or sign a LOFA. Kurt is requesting the finance and policies subcommittee review the policies in conjunction with BBE staff to write language so that a vendor is not penalized and the staff will have some latitude. A vendor may not be able to repay a debt if they do not have an income. Kurt feels that an exception should be made in some circumstances. Alan Risk reported that a couple of exceptions have been made when the program was limited on options for a facility. The policy was implemented because many years ago, going back to the late 90’s, there were operators in the program with outstanding debt from multiple facilities. More than $500,000 in outstanding debt was not being paid back. Jim Warth said that the two subcommittees should look at the policy and report at the next Committee meeting in March 2019.

Type II Updates – Maureen Fink
Twenty-two facilities are on Type II LOFAs. Five were awarded on the last selection cycle and are in transition, five will be on the January 2019 selection cycle, five will be on future selection cycles and seven are being monitored to determine viability. Greg Coon will be working on locations to help expand the smaller facilities.

Business Analyst Report – John Ahler
The RSA report for the federal fiscal running from October 2017-September 2018 has been submitted to Director Doyle for review and when approved will be sent to RSA in Washington. Gross sales have increased every year for the last five years. Sales for 2014 were 19.9 million, 21 million in 2015, 21.9 million in 2016 and 22.7 million in 2017. Monies going to the vendors have increased every year and set aside has also increased. Average vendor earnings have increased every year. Sixty LOFA monitorings were completed in 2018 and John generally visits an operator about every 24 months. He has been focusing on credit card reader rollup reports, sales tax exemptions and claiming approved business expenses on the monthly reports.

There are 757 card readers on the State of Florida primary USA Tech account. Fifty-four operators are users on this account. USA Tech will begin to move the previously purchased state owned readers to this new primary State of Florida account over the next few weeks. USA Tech will be charging $5 per reader to transfer previously purchased state owned readers to the account and $15 per reader to transfer vendor owned readers. Operators will receive a transfer of ownership form and the Division will pay these fees. All previously purchased state owned readers will be transferred to the primary account and vendors will have the option of transferring readers they purchased to this account. The Division will prioritize the move of readers and will begin by transferring readers at facilities that will be in transition from one vendor to another. Once completed, readers will then be moved based on consolidation of accounts. Finally, readers that are operator owned will then be transferred. Sead Bekric questioned the transfer fee as readers under the primary account should not have transfer fees. The transfer fee is only for readers purchased outside of the primary account. Normal charge for transfers is $25 so there is a significant savings. In addition to no transfer fees on the primary account, USA Tech has also promised a dedicated service agent for the account.

Daytona Training – Steve Moss
The new instructor, Rachel Boltz and snack bar trainers, Angela Elgaard and Agnes Kardos were introduced to the committee along with trainee Daniel Roth. Steve Moss reported that Daniel Roth assisted in the snack bar during the staff transition. Daniel asked about the trend of transitioning food service locations into micro-markets. Bill Findley explained that the BBE works with building management to determine if a micro-market is a good choice for a facility. BBE does not intend to change successful food service operations into micro-markets. It is, however, a good option for smaller, barely viable food service locations. Maureen Fink indicated that a nano-market may be installed in the Rehab Center so that students can get training on this new concept.

Card Reader Discussion – Jim Warth
At the June meeting the Committee voted to put credit card readers on all vending machines. Upon reflection members believed the motion was too broad and there should be guidelines in place. Sead Bekric made a motion to rescind the decision to put card readers on all vending machines. The motion was seconded by Joel Rose. Phil Hubbard indicated he would not consider voting to rescind the decision until guidelines were decided. A vote to rescind the decision was taken by roll call and was tied five to five. Vice Chairman Alton Palmore voted against the motion and it was defeated. Mike recommended that the policy and procedures subcommittee meet to set some guidelines. Committee members debated whether the discussion could continue with the defeat of the motion. Phil Hubbard made a motion to reconsider the vote and to have a discussion on guidelines. Seconded by Mike Renaud. Phil Hubbard indicated vendors in his district did not like the Committee decision and he recommended that guidelines be developed and brought back to the Committee.

Mitzi Bowen, member of the policy and procedures subcommittee proposed the following guidelines:

  1. The Division retains title to all credit card readers that are purchased with state funds. A Licensee may own and operate readers independently purchased and owned by licensee.
  2. The Division is authorized to purchase and install card-readers on state owned equipment, providing that each machine exceeds $100 in cash sales per week.
  3. The licensee is not liable for any cost associated with the acquisition, activation and/or transfer fees for credit card readers which are registered under the division’s umbrella account.
  4. The Division further agrees to provide card-readers for all machines that earn less than $100 per week only at the discretion of the licensee.
  5. All operators are authorized to deduct the monthly service fees on their Monthly Business report regardless of whether their readers are under the division’s umbrella account or individually owned/ operated by licensee.
  6. Licensees agree to grant one time access per written request to the duly authorized agents of the Division to access the USA Live reports under the Division’s umbrella account solely for monitoring purposes; moreover the Division must provide the operator with a 7 day written notice before accessing USA Live Reports.
  7. Any machines owned by anyone other than the Division are not mandated to having card readers regardless of the machine’s earnings. Placing card readers on these assets is solely at the discretion of the licensee unless otherwise stipulated by the project contract. 
  8. The licensee reserves the right to relinquish back to the Division any card readers determined by licensee to be a financial burden and not a profitable asset.

There was a discussion about requiring sales of $100 per week before adding a card reader to a machine. This figure was determined after a recent webinar by USA Tech indicated that $60 a week was sufficient sales to add a reader. USA Tech is including the expense of the reader along with a higher device fee. BBE vendors do not have to pay for readers and have a lower device fee. Operators also have the option of charging a higher price for products purchased with a credit card to cover the transaction fees. Some facility agreements mandate credit card even on machines with low sales. Another point that was discussed was credit card readers on Coke and Pepsi machines that are not owned by the Division. Jim Warth indicated that a vendor’s agreement with Coke or Pepsi does not allow them to deface the machine. Most vendors have not had problems with adding card readers to drink machines and a vendor can request a card reader ready machine. Another issue is the concern that a low yield machine would not be worth the expense of a card reader. A card reader generally improves sales and allows a vendor to monitor a machine so they can plan visits. The reports also can provide information to a building if the program wants to remove a machine. The program needs to keep up with changing technology and the move to a cashless society. Alan Risk clarified that there are two issues. The first is the minimum sales needed to make a card reader a viable option. The second the monitoring of the rollup reports. The eight point guideline is a starting point and district reps should discuss this with the vendors in their district. The policy and procedures subcommittee will work with agency staff to develop guidelines. The group discussed access to the USA Tech account. BBE staff have worked with vendors and have utilized the rollup report when it was determined that a vendor was not reporting correctly. The agency works with the vendor to correct the report. Sead Bekric moved to delay a vote on the issue. Seconded by Darryl Brinton. Passed by voice vote.

Marketing and Site Development Updates – Greg Coon
Greg Coon advised the group that solicitations from cities and counties require card readers. Card readers also help with accountability when a commission is required. The consultants have been managing their own areas while he transitioned from Region 3 Business Consultant to Marketing and Site Development. Sodexo was awarded the Daytona State College contract but declined it and has left the college. Sodexo is interested in using a BBE vendor to service the vending at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach. This is a thirteen million dollar contract and is underserved with old machines and no card readers. Another location is the Lake-Sumter State College in Leesburg. Greg submitted a proposal for Volusia County on December 4 which is expected to be a $212,000 per year account. The current solicitation had a focus on ADA compliant machines and the ability to provide new equipment. Other projects include Lee County, City of Tallahassee, FEMA in Tallahassee, renewal of the Palm Beach County Parks agreement and the DOT office in Gainesville. Greg has accessed successful proposals that resulted in contracts and is using them as a template for his proposals. He is researching websites for city and county solicitations and will be working on educating National Guard locations and the VA in Palm Beach County on the Randolph-Sheppard Act.

Subcommittees – Jim Warth
Jim is working with the subcommittee members to get them more involved. The finance, training and policy subcommittees have been active. Alton Palmore will work with the grievance subcommittee which helps an operator prepare for a grievance hearing. The grievance subcommittee is different from the panel which hears the grievance.

Compliance Officer Report – Alan Risk
Four new vendors have been licensed since August for a total of eleven new licensees in 2018. Nine of the new licensees have been awarded a facility. Seven facilities were posted on September selection cycle including one rest area, one non-highway vending facility, three snack bars, one cafeteria and one military dining opportunity. Seven applicants took the exam and were interviewed. The exam was delayed one week due to Hurricane Michael. Five of the seven interviewed were awarded facilities. Two facilities, Facility 352, snack bar in Ft. Lauderdale and Facility 455, snack bar in Miami were not awarded.

One hundred and twelve vendors are required to achieve CEU compliance for 2017-2019. Eight vendors have less than one CEU, fourteen vendors have less than two CEUs, 41 vendors have less than three CEUs and 49 vendors have fulfilled the requirement.

There have been a total of three grievances filed since August. On September 10, 2018 the claimant requested a hearing regarding the reconfiguration of the claimant’s vending route. The Committee met via conference call on September 26, 2018 and resolved the issue. The grievance was withdrawn on October 1. A request for a grievance hearing was received on September 16, 2018 regarding the Division’s decision to rescind the offer of a potential Type 1 LOFA to the claimant. The hearing was held on October 4, 2018. The panel voted 4-1 to uphold the Division’s decision. Director Doyle concurred the panel’s decision. A request for grievance hearing received on November 5, 2018 regarding the manner in which the claimant’s LOFA was terminated. The grievance involved five specific requests. The hearing was held on November 8, 2018 and the panel voted in favor of the claimant on three of the five requests. Director Doyle concurred with the panel on four of their five recommendations, overriding their recommendation that the claimant be allowed to bid for facilities while having an outstanding debt owed to the Division. Since January 1, 2018, there have been eight requests for grievance hearings. Five grievance hearings were held and three requests were withdrawn prior to the hearing.

The proposed edits to BBE Manual are listed below. The updated policy will need to be sent to RSA.

  1. In Table of Contents, BBE Forms, updated the web link.
  2. In Section 2.0, BBE Application Process, updated the web link.
  3. In Section 5.5, My Florida Market Place Registration: deleted a web link that was no longer active.
  4. Changed “days” to “calendar days” for the following:
  5. On Background Screening, Section 2.5: changed to: requests for exemption must be made within 21 “calendar days” of the requestor’s receipt of written notification of the Division’s intent to disqualify…
  6. On Vendor Vicinity Requirement, Section 3.4, changed to: “The Division shall allow the Vendor up to 30 “calendar days” … to comply with this requirement.  The Division may grant an extension of not more than 30 “calendar days”…
  7. On Leave of Absences, Section 5.9: Short-Term absences, changed 3 to 30 days to 3 to 30 “calendar days”.  Long-Term absences, changed 30 to 90 days to 30 to 90 “calendar days”.
  8. Changed “days” to “business days” for the following:
  9. For Temporarily Closed Facilities, Section 4.3, changed to:  “… the operator shall sign a business opportunity decision form, allowing 3 “business days” to indicate their choice…
  10. On Emergency Suspension of License, Section 7.1, changed to: “The Division shall provide the Licensee written notification of the cause for such suspension within 10 “business days” of the date of the action.
  11. On Performance Penalties, Section 3.1: Late Monthly Business Reports: reworded to avoid penalizing a vendor with multiple facilities being late in the same month.  Now reads, “Applicants will have one point deducted from their cumulative score for each month in which any one of their required monthly business reports are submitted late over the previous 36 months.”
  12. On Performance Penalties, Section 3.1: defined Warning Letters as being “typically issued for operational deficiencies.”
  13. On Performance Penalties, Section 3.1: defined Letters of Sanction as being “typically issued for conduct issues.”
  14. In Section 5.1, CEU’s:  Due to the new Notice of Non-Compliance rule, allowing 15 days to comply, the following was added concerning CEU credits earned from the Biennial Seminar, “CEU credits earned at the Biennial Seminar cannot be applied to the previous two-year reporting period.”
  15. In Section 7.3, Voluntary Resignation: added “Voluntary resignation from a facility is not considered discontinuation in the BBE program.”
  16. In Section 8.0, Committee of Vendors: changed Committee meetings from Thursdays and Fridays to Fridays and Saturdays. 
  17. In Section 8.3 Committee By-Laws, added a web link where a copy of the By-Laws can be accessed.

Phil Hubbard made a motion to eliminate the days of the week that the Committee meets from the manual. Seconded by Sead Bekric. Passed by voice vote. Steve Barnes made a motion to accept the edits with this revision to the manual. Seconded by Joel Rose. Passed by voice vote.

Road Shows/Biennial 2019 – Janet Chernoff
Presentations were done in Pensacola, Tallahassee, Orlando and Jacksonville and two are scheduled for West Palm Beach and Miami the week of December 10, 2018. Two more are planned for Ft. Myers and Tampa in mid-January 2019. The Biennial Seminar is scheduled for August 23-24, 2019 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel.  Committee members and licensed vendors can provide suggestions for topics. The new training staff have been asked to put together presentations and new Consultant Jaime Payne will be doing a new vendor training session. Vendor Phil Hubbard is planning an interactive session on the United States Blind Golfer Association. Other subjects suggested are healthy living, rollup reports and active shooter training.

Snapple – Ed Diaz
Ed Diaz and Shelly Carr talked about the aggressive pricing and rebates offered to vendors who add Snapple products. They answered questions the availability of products and the repair of Snapple vending machines.

Steve Barnes made a motion to adjourn. The meeting ended for the day at 4:29 p.m.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m. Vice Chairman Alton Palmore called the role.

Regional Status/District Updates
Region 1 – Brian Ashworth, Janet Chernoff

Facility 470, snack bar at Ft. Knox has been converted to a micro-market and equipment is being installed. The facility will be offered on a Type II. Vendor Colton Knight will sign into Facility 502, Tallahassee vending route the beginning of February and his facility, Facility 545, Twin Towers snack bar will be offered as a Type II. Hurricane Michael impacted four vendors in Region I. Mike Wells’ rest area was closed for a month and Alton Palmore’s military dining facility was closed for over two weeks. Sales at Facility 532, vending at Marianna FCI are down 80% as the prisoners were transferred out. No information has been received on the status of this facility. Facilities 579 and 580, Jackson County rest areas are closed and the program is waiting for DOT to make a determination on the status. The vendor, Joe Bragg has one other location, Facility 528, Welcome Center at Hwy 231 that is still open. Janet Chernoff reported that vendors Wanda Feldsteen, Steve Docie and Carl Walker are all doing well. Wanda has started OJT with trainee Brenda Nicely-Meade.

District 1 - Georgia Kellogg
Georgia reported that Mike Wells’ rest area reopened before Thanksgiving. Her sales have not been impacted by the closure of the other rest areas.

District 2 – Mike Renaud
Mike held a CEU event in late October that included presentations by Pepsi and Coke, AMS equipment and the Tom Spiliotis Retirement Fund. The group finished by discussing micro-markets and credit card readers. Mike hopes there will be a remedy for the vendors impacted by the hurricane by the end of the month.

Region 2 – Bernie Kaiserian
Josh Kimrey was awarded Facility 145, snack bar in Jacksonville. He is doing an extended OJT with vendor Darryl Brinton and will take over on January 2, 2019. A new micro-market was opened in the DOT building in Lake City. This is part of Facility 599, Lake City vending route. Facility 388, NAS vending route will be on the January selection cycle. Facility 239, Jacksonville Sherriff’s office cafeteria run by Jeff Estebo has had record sales with monthly sales of over $30,000. Facility 218, Jacksonville route had sales of $22,000 in October and Facility 388, NAS Jacksonville route has seen a 39% increase with operational improvements and the addition of card readers. Three Jacksonville routes have seen a 17% increase in sales with the addition of card readers.

District 3 – Terri Lindstrom
Mitzi Bowen was awarded Facility 424, rest area on I-10 and Troy Arthur has signed into Facility 446, I-75 rest area. A Pepsi workshop was held for vendors in Region 2 in September.

District 4 – Darryl Brinton
Vendor Jeff Estebo broke his foot in a bicycle accident and Darryl will be helping him with his vending during his recovery. Jeff’s wife will be getting clearance for the building. Food service locations in his district were having employee problems, but things seem to be more settled.

Region 3 – Jaime Payne  
Jaime has worked as the Region 3 Consultant for about seven weeks. Renovations of Facility 378, Hurston Building cafeteria are complete and the facility looks good. Kashif Ahmed has been at Facility 466, KSC snack bar for two weeks and Sandra Marecki has been at her facility, Facility 403 for a year. Twenty vending machines including ten snack machines are scheduled to be installed at the new NASA headquarters building on January 20, 2019. Heather Saunders signed into a Type II for Facility 416, I-4 rest area on October 12.

District 5 – David Stevens
There are no issues in his district.

District 6 – Phil Hubbard
Phil received a call from the new vendor at NASA, Kash Ahmed. He was upset that NASA brought in food for a group meeting and did not give him any notice.

Region 4 – Tony Arduengo
Four post offices and the kayak launch at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park have been added to Facility 272, Brooksville vending route. Two drink machines and two snack machines are planned to be installed in a VA location in Pasco County expected to open in 2021. The location has offered storage in the building, making it the first time the program has been able to secure storage in a VA facility. New vendor TJ McCormick has signed into Facility 627. This is a new facility that comprises a micro-market in federal building, vending in the Sam Gibbons building and a location with vending and a commercial kitchen in downtown Tampa. A second micro-market is planned for Sam Gibbons building and should be installed within the month. Facility 605, VA vending has been added to Facility 398, Tampa vending route which should result in increased sales for that facility. A recreation center location has been added to Facility 500, Pinellas County vending route. Vendor Chris Clark has announced his plan to retire from Facility 112, vending in Naples. The program will look at ways to expand this facility to make it viable for an operator. The program is working on routing the agreements for Lee County vending. The vending will include sixteen locations with a second agreement for a micro-market. The locations will be temporarily added to Facility 180 while sales figures are being secured. A location at Lover’s Key with four drink machines on the tram line to the beach will also be added to that facility. Facility 433, rest area on the Skyway Bridge is still under construction with an anticipated reopening date of February 2019. Once it is open the other Skyway Bridge location will be closed for a complete rebuild.

District 7 – Sead Bekric
All is quiet in his district. He is trying to bring up sales at his facility and reports that the post office did not bring in extra help for the holidays this year.

District 8 – Steve Barnes
Ray Richards signed into Facility 482, the new northbound Alligator Alley rest area. Steve’s location, Facility 481, southbound Alligator Alley rest area is temporarily closed.

Region 5 – Maureen Fink
The two vending routes in the Palm Beach County area will be recombined and will be on the January selection cycle. New vendor Orlando Ramirez took Facility 352, snack bar in the Broward County government center on a Type II in October when the building requested that the previous operator be replaced. Orlando had been awarded Facility 612, Broward Sherriff’s Office cafeteria on the September selection cycle and will take over in February. The program is looking to either close Facility 352 for needed renovations or bring in a trainee to help alleviate the burden of a new operator running two facilities. Maureen has asked area vendors to provide her a list of all locations as one snack machine is missing from the inventory. The snack machine had been repaired and may no longer have an inventory number.

District 9 – Joel Rose
Rest area vendors in his district did well during the Thanksgiving holidays. He is planning ahead for a possible federal government shutdown by reducing purchases and securing storage in his employee’s garages. He also lost a day’s business when the federal government closed for President Bush’s funeral.

Region 6 – Alejandro Garcia
Facility 348, cafeteria in the State Regional Service Center in Miami saw a 20% increase in sales, Facility 510, vending at Krome Detention Center had an increase of 52% and has done almost a half a million in sales in the last twelve months. Facility 588, Doral vending route had an increase of 49% and there was an increase of 26% sales at Facility 597, vending at the US Customs and Border protection. A 52% increase was seen in sales for Facility 600, Hialeah vending route and a 37% increase for Facility 519, vending at the Miami post offices. Machines were added to Facilities 600, 597 and 519. Alejandro has been working on renovations for Facility 352 in Region 5 and for the air conditioning at Facility 348. A grease trap is required for Facility 455, snack bar in the Federal building. The building removed the grills from the facility which has resulted in a decline in sales. The facility is currently on a Type II LOFA and the program has not been able to find a Type I operator. The program will look at options for this facility. Jim Warth asked if a vote was required to recombine the two Palm Beach area vending routes. That was an agency decision so no vote is required.

District 10 – Lilian Pemberton
Lilian Pemberton held a district meeting and had a retirement presentation. A holiday party is planned in conjunction with the presentation by BBE staff. Operator Daniel Ochoa is losing money at Facility 455 since the building made him remove the grills. Maureen indicated that the operator was using a griddle with no hood system and the building did an inspection and decided to remove it because of the grease build up. A ventless hood system is an option but is expensive. Other options for this location would be vending only or a micro-market. The location has been on the selection cycle three times but no operator has elected to take it.

Round Table Discussion – All
There was a short discussion about the length of time that it takes to get reimbursed for a repair and the current practice of copying agency staff when a vendor makes a mistake on the paperwork.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 a.m.

Florida Bureau of Business Enterprise

Providing Tools and Support for Legally Blind Vendors in the Food Service Industry