By Helena Crowhurst, Joint Managing Director, Apogee International Ltd.
Believe it or not, this month Apogee is celebrating 25 years in the industry. In theory that’s a long time, but as everybody in vending knows, once they’re in it, people rarely leave. This was brought home to me as I scrolled through the congratulatory messages I’ve been receiving to mark my personal milestone of 10 years and by the way, how did we communicate before LinkedIn?!
Just in case any of you think 25 years isn’t that long ago, let me take you back to 1994…
In the cinema, Pulp Fiction, Four Weddings and a Funeral and the original Lion King were released. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and Yahoo was founded. Most people used dial-up online services like AOL, where you paid for every minute you used – (when it worked). There were no thumb drives, no cloud storage. Instead, you backed up your files on a floppy disk. E-mail was very expensive so in the office, the fax machine was still making that annoying, screeching din; all day, every day.
There was no streaming, no Netflix. In fact, we didn’t even have DVDs, they were introduced the following year. Instead, if you wanted to watch a movie you went to the video shop, hoping you didn’t end up with a tape that had been rented so many times it was barely watchable.
Throughout the intervening years – the Apogee years – vending has been a constant. The technology and look of the machines may have developed considerably, but the requirement for vending services remains the same. People still have to eat and drink as they work and go about their daily lives. The main difference is the non-food/promotional projects we now get involved in. The possibilities these bring are endless.
As Woody said the other day, (that’s David Wood, Apogee CEO, btw), ‘Twenty-five years is a significant milestone in the life of any company and we can be proud to have been a consistent, trusted part of the industry for that time. I mean, it’s a quarter of a century!’
Woody, Joint MD, Commercial Director (and my other half!), Graham Crowhurst and I would like to thank all those individuals and companies who have supported Apogee over the years, including all our major suppliers and our customers. Many of them have been with us since day one. Special mentions to Brian Savage of TVS, (not only for his continuous service but also his personal support, advice and encouragement) and to Peter Quinney of Quintus Systems. He once gave Woody a great lead, which led to a pan-European drive that impacts on the business to this day.
Here’s to the next 25 years. We can’t guess what technological and cultural innovations will change our lives forever in that time, but we can be certain that vending, in some way, shape or form, will remain a vital part of day-to-day life and – fingers crossed – so will Apogee.