AVT Inc., a developer of automated retailing systems, customized kiosks and micro-stores, recently announced a string of business initiatives and industry recognitions related to its automated Marley coffee vending machines, developed in association with music legend Bob Marley's son Rohan.
"One of the fastest growing segments in automated retailing is in the coffee sector," noted a recent Morgan Research Group report on the state of the automated retail industry. The report added that AVT has placed hundreds of its Marley Coffee Automated Stores placed throughout the nation, "and plans to deploy over 1,000 this year — with strong presence in key metropolitan markets."
"AVT's relationship with Marley Coffee is one of the keys to the success of this system," the report stated. "Marley Coffee is one of the fastest growing brands in America, with the power of the Marley name behind it — which is widely recognized worldwide. The coffee also features a gourmet flavor, and is organically grown — attracting more heath conscience buyers."
"Marley Coffee Automated Stores represent our fastest growing system in years," acknowledged James Winsor, CEO of Corona, Calif.-based AVT. "The popularity has been unprecedented. We have hundreds of machines on order and the units already in operation are performing above expectations."
In related news, AVT announced a deal with Neebo Inc., owner of Nebraska Book Company Inc., to provide Marley Coffee Automated Stores at college campus bookstores throughout the nation. AVT said it expects the deal to add $2.5 million in new revenues to its business.
According to the company, Neebo owns one of the largest collections of college bookstores in the country, with more than 200 locations, including many of the biggest and best-known schools in the world. In one way or another, Neebo touches approximately 80 percent of the 15 million students attending institutions of higher education in the United States, the company said.
According to Joe Menichiello, vice president of sales and marketing for Marley Coffee Stores, the Neebo deal is significant for a number of reasons.
"The fastest growing segment of coffee drinkers are between the ages of 18 and 24, so having Marley Coffee Stores in college campuses provides a superb opportunity for AVT and our partners throughout the nation," he said. "Additionally, Marley is an iconic brand — especially among the college age demographic, so we are very optimistic about the sales potential from these placements."
At least 40 Marley Coffee kiosks will be placed before the next semester begins in August, the company said. The majority of other Neebo college bookstores will be outfitted with Marley Coffee kiosks shortly thereafter.
The next-generation Marley Coffee Stores also provide on-screen advertising opportunities, which deliver an additional revenue stream for the owner/operators, Marley Coffee Stores and the bookstore.
"We have all the components in place for explosive growth," Menichiello stated. "A great brand, a superb delivery system, a product that is in demand and now the nation's finest chain of college bookstores."
More recently, AVT announced its expansion into the Asian marketplace, where according to a T.Rowe Price analyst report, coffee is gaining growth in market share over tea.
"While tea will remain an important beverage, we expect coffee to continue to gain share. The U.K. was traditionally a tea-drinking nation, but people now drink more coffee than tea even there," the report said.
"We are pleased with our initial success in the Korean market," said Shannon Illingworth, founder and chairman of AVT. "With a powerful brand name, added convenience and lower cost, we have the formula for success. We look forward to selling many more machines to our Korean partners, as well as throughout Asia and Japan."
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