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Blue Star distributing held its annual* VARTECH conference in Orlando,  October 4th and 5th.  Industry leaders from Point of Sale, Data Collection, warehousing, retail and the cannabis industry gathered for this educational conference.  Listen and Jim Roddy and Harry discuss the hightlights of the show, and why you should be planning to attend next year. 

Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford  0:05 

Hey 420MSP back with Jim Roddy at the RSPA Jim How you doing you’re back from a show we’re gonna talk about

Jim Roddy  0:28 

it great Harry Yeah Good to see you I know between Last time we talked at Retail Now and and today you and I’ve been kind of criss crossing the country so it’s a good thing to do.

Harry Brelsford  0:38 

There we go. So you know this this is a actually a podcast that crosses over into the SMB Nation community as well as the for 20 because we’re talking about a large distributor Blue Star they just had their in person VARtec event down in down in Florida so what walk us through what what’s the store I have not been to the show what’s the story?

Jim Roddy  1:01 

Sure yeah so it’s far tech is blue stars annual partner conference again annual with an Asterix because a COVID last year so they had it on October 4 and 5 in Orlando I always get allergies when I go to Orlando some still love fight through those at this point and so they bring in their partners usually it’s from Canada, Latin America Europe they’re mostly based obviously in the United States but they didn’t have you know as many Canadians is here or folks from an international standpoint but I’m telling you what it was a very exciting high energy interesting show and they address a lot of the challenges and the opportunities head on right they’re not that you know people think a distributor they might think oh they’re just a box mover a supplier they do all sorts of value added services and the education there isn’t just talking about product is talking about trends and things to see around the corner so it was great a lot of folks you know from the point of sale side the data collection side warehousing retail and cannabis as well that we’re going to be talking about today so really really strong event Blue Star knows how to throw a party they know how to put on a world class it’s not that that is for sure. We got to get you there next year Harry for sure.

Harry Brelsford  2:09 

Yeah, yeah no and I was gonna say my compliments there was a lot of amplification up on the social media networks of this event right and you can always tell it’s it’s interest in I’m serious. LinkedIn is sort of my favorite go to for you know, the business side right and the posts that are there and you can tell if an event has energy or not, for example, back in the SMB Nation side there were some recent one day events and God bless them you know, there’s more than one day roadshow format but there was no energy up on LinkedIn you know what I mean? Wow, that really happened last week right? No, wow, I missed it. Versus VARtec and I do want to go um, they were everywhere in my feed.

Jim Roddy  2:58 

Yeah. Yep. Yeah. To me that the social media when you’re covering an event is for two things one to let everybody know what’s going on there then also to create jealousy of the folks who weren’t there who say man, I really missed out I have to go and it seems like you you fit into the second camp there so looking forward to seeing you at Bartek next year for sure.

Harry Brelsford  3:16 

No, I offend people they I mean make people jealous daily so um, so I did they have water more cannabis speeches. Why don’t we get back on track? What What was their messaging there?

Jim Roddy  3:30 

Yeah, so good question. So again, the the mass of what makes up the audience at udvar tech. And for blue star. They have a ton of folks who play in the the AI DC space, Automatic Identification and data collection. So warehousing, transportation, logistics, that’s a giant part of the show. They also have a lot of folks who play in the point of sale world. So retail, hospitality, grocery stores, things like that huge ISV play, right like they had 39 is vs getting up on stage giving 92nd commercials across all those different verticals. So cannabis, but you know, the way that I said in my RSP blog posts, it wasn’t the biggest market from a revenue standpoint, but it was generating the most buzz, for sure. So they had a Canada tech panel that was moderated by our good friend, Dwayne Roebuck from Blue Star. And I was one of the folks who was was part of that panel. And it was very well attended. It was actually the last event on the last day. And we still had, you know, 50 something people in the room at that point. So that was the one cannabis session, but it was an hour and a half. We took a deep dive into a lot of things which happen to dive into anywhere that you want about that session.

Harry Brelsford  4:35 

Yeah. And finally looked over the agenda for the show. I believe the big party was the last night not the middle night and that’s First of all, is my understanding. Correct?

Jim Roddy  4:47 

First, every night at Bartek is a big party. night so they had you know, I guess the firt you know, the Sunday. You know, a lot of folks are just getting in so that’s probably smaller, but they had Monday night was a big Monday Night Football tailgating, actually out on the driving range is what they did. They moved all sorts of, you know, cars and tents and tons of food and stuff out there. And then they had a big night. They call it the taste of Bartek is what they did and had all sorts of different great food out there. So yeah, Monday, Tuesday, both big party nights, for phones during and after parties on Wednesday. Yeah, and then I get getaway day was on Wednesday shuttle starting at 5am. I’ve been there before where some people on the 5am shuttle did not go home the night before, right? They’re just staying up all night decided to catch the 5am shuttles. So again, a lot of fun there. But a lot of series misses getting done, you know, the people we’re traveling to chose now we’re really serious about moving the business forward. And vortech was not just no exception, but really the cream of the crop. Yeah, and

Harry Brelsford  5:47 

the reason I asked about the party schedule, we’ll call it good is, you know, you put on events, you’ve been to a lot of events at SMB nation, just our demographic, it always made sense if we had a three day conference, and they were typically over the weekend, because we’re talking to somebody when they can actually get away. So the big party would have been Saturday Night Rider day two. And then day three, what we saw was the back nine effect, where people were kind of, you know, ducking out to the airport about 1pm, skipping the last three lecture sessions. So we didn’t have in our demographic. The people didn’t have the resources to stay the extra night and make the last night the big party. I’ve seen it go. I’ve seen it go every way but sideways.

Jim Roddy  6:36 

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right. No, they have in fact, one of the slides that they show in the general session, it’s something about like, work hard, sleep hard, right? And so they tell people, like you’re only gonna have a few hours of sleep each night. But that’s good, because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time learning, networking and having a good time.

Harry Brelsford  6:52 

All right, well, thanks for thanks as always, for pitching in your insights into the industry. And we’ll see you next time and I’ll see if this Bartek next year for

Jim Roddy  7:00 

sure. Looking forward to it, Harry, thanks. Always a pleasure to talk with you. All right.

Harry Brelsford  7:04