Healthy Sign: Buyers and sellers were engaging at the 2022 NAMA Show

I had been reluctant in the past to attend the NAMA Show because operators worry about meeting with a business broker in public – fearing rumors. At NAMA 2022, I had comfortable meetings with both buyers and sellers, a healthy sign for the industry.

Exit planning is fundamental

While some of the “old school” operators are still afraid to be seen with a business broker, the attitude of most operators has changed. The savviest operators now understand, especially since the pandemic, that a company’s exit strategy is something to explore, whether it be 6 months or 6 years away. Planning for the future is a fundamental part of a business plan.

Buyers were very happy to see me

The happiest people to see me at the 2022 NAMA Show in Chicago were buyers, who are motivated to find deals and inspired by the current direction of the industry. In fact, buyers are always interested in being seen with me, hoping that operators will get the message that they are driven to make acquisitions!

Some 2020 NAMA Show highlights

One of the driving factors that has buyers excited about convenience services is the technology and new products that were on display at the 2022 NAMA Show. After walking the show floor, these 10 exhibitors particularly impressed me.

  • 365 Retail Markets – Everything for unattended retail and dining solutions.

  • Nayax – Their award-winning platform for unattended retail promises to enhance revenue and lower operating costs – a good combo. Now adding EasiFit to their product line.

  • Marco Beverage Systems – Stylish solutions, plus they have a cold brew maker coming soon.

  • KioSoft – The robotic barista (Kio Café) was a showstopper.

  • ColdSnap – Ice cream, coffee drinks – instantly, delicious and with no mess!

  • ansā coffee – Their on-demand Micro Roaster is an OCS game changer (and the coffee tastes incredible).

  • Gimme – Always a technology leader, their AI enabled inventory control platform is another dazzler.

  • Fixturelite – A focus on micro market design is a differentiator and Fixturelite’s solutions are impressive.

  • E.A Sween – There are so many intriguing food offerings at the show, but their San Luis quesadillas absolutely stood out.

  • AVS – A company that has been around for a long time, but now offering a selection of operator friendly, energy efficient equipment.

There are so many more exhibits that are worth mentioning. It was great to see such a robust turn out of both operators and suppliers.

An important question from sellers

One of the questions that several operators asked me at the 2022 NAMA Show was, “If I’m selling my business, should I be spending money on some of this new technology and the hot products that I see at the convention?”

My answer – “A sale does not happen overnight. It is a process that goes from valuation to marketing to negotiating to the ultimate sale. As an operator, you need to always keep up with the latest technology and products (in a sensible manner). It will only enhance your company’s value.”

An important question from buyers

Among those operators were some of the industry’s most active buyers. Those buyers were anxious to talk, since they know that I am a sell side broker, well connected to operators who are considering a sale. The big question the buyers asked me at the 2022 NAMA Show was: “What are operators looking for when they are selling their company today?”

My answer – “Those operators who are selling want to see a selling price that reflects two things:

  1. The operator’s long-time commitment to their business.

  2. The understanding that sales will be coming back, close to pre-pandemic levels.”

Our Philosophy at VBB Advisors

“No matter what is going on with the economy or the world, it is time to sell your business if you are ready and we can make the right deal, a deal that makes sense for you, your family and your company.”

My philosophy is driven by the fact that I do not represent buyers. I represent sellers. Operators just like you. Please consider what that means for you. I am not interested in just making a deal. I will not be jockeying from one side of the table to the other. As the seller – you know what you need to receive to move on, to retire, to go in a different direction – comfortably and confidently.

Buyers come to me because they know that I serve sellers who have thoroughly and thoughtfully considered their exit strategy with my help. That is the type of seller that you want to be – a seller who has their ducks in order, has taken steps to make their business as attractive as possible and a seller who values their employees enough to make a deal that everyone will feel good about.

Take that critical first step. That is often the toughest one to take.

Order my free 2022 Exit Strategy Planner. At the very least, it will provoke some thought, and this is a good time to think about your future.

Why make VBB Advisors a part of your team?

There are at least three very good reasons to talk to me about being a part of your team for this important chapter of your business journey.

  1. Experience – I have done more significant deals than any other business broker in our industry.

  2. Access to buyers – Throughout the pandemic, I have been in ongoing discussions with potential buyers, from both inside and outside the industry.

  3. We are a sell side broker – We only represent the seller. Everything we do is on behalf of the seller.


Whatever your reasons are to sell your company - the timing, a sense of frustration, the desire to enjoy life or an interest in rewarding yourself for years of hard work – VBB Advisors can help you realize your goals.

I am Mike Kelner, the leading sell side intermediary in the convenience services industry. Let’s sit down and have a conversation. Use this appointment scheduler to set up a meeting with me.

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