Quarterly Meeting of the State Committee of Vendors

Friday, August 14, 2020

Chairman James Warth called the meeting to order at 8:30am. Vice Chairman Terri Lindstrom called the role.

The following individuals were present:
James Warth, Chairman
Terri Lindstrom, Vice Chairman

District Representatives: Kurt Ponchak, District 1; Mike Renaud, District 2; Mitzi Bowen, District 3; Randall Crosby, District 4; David Stevens, District 5; Phil Hubbard, District 6; Jose Quintanilla, District 7; Sead Bekric, District 8; Joel Rose, District 9; Alicia Villeda, District 10, Alternate.

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; Jay Payne, Region 3 Business Consultant; Tony Arduengo, Region 4 Business Consultant; Rafaella Diershaw, Region 5 Business Consultant; Janet Chernoff, Administrative Services Consultant; Mary Ellen Harding, Administrative Assistant.

Division of Blind Services: Robert Doyle, Director.

Licensed Vendors: Debby Malmberg, District 1 Alternate; Colton Knight, District 2 Alternate, Chuck Fickett, District 6 Alternate; TJ McCormick, District 7 Alternate; Mary Hayes, District 8 Alternate; David Kaplan, District 9 Alternate; Woody Matthews, Orlando Ramirez.

Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Training staff Steve Moss, Rachel Boltz and Angela Elgaard and trainees William Daniel, Tyler Collins, David Alvarez.

Guests: Terry Smith, National Association of Blind Merchants.

This meeting was held via Microsoft Teams. A number of vendors participated in the meeting as observers, but the minutes only list members of the Committee and Bureau of Business Enterprise (BBE) staff and those who spoke at the meeting.

The meeting opened with Bill Findley advising the group of a change in the agenda. Kurt Ponchak is unable to join the meeting until later in the day and has requested that the program’s budget report wait until after lunch and that the agenda be adjusted accordingly. Jose Quintanilla made a motion to amend the agenda. Seconded by Joel Rose. Passed without objection.

Minutes Review – Janet Chernoff

Janet Chernoff read a synopsis of the minutes from the meeting on May 29, 2020. The full minutes had been emailed to all participants. Joel Rose made a motion to accept the minutes as written. Seconded by Randall Crosby. Passed without objection.

BBE Updates – Bill Findley

Bill Findley opened by updating the group on the impact of COVID-19 on state operations. Travel restrictions have been relaxed but staff still need to have a compelling reason to travel. The Region 6 Business Consultant position has been advertised and interviews are expected to start soon. Prior to the May meeting the program distributed $8,900 from the Division of Blind Services (DBS) gifts and donations funds to six operators in eight food service facilities. This was done because the program expected state and federal locations to reopen and the operators had lost product due to spoilage and did not have the resources to purchase stock. After the May meeting the program reached out to more food service locations and distributed monies to an additional eight operators in nine facilities. No one operator received more than $2,000 and a total of $18,000 to fourteen operators in seventeen facilities was distributed. One operator received money from a local grant and returned his payment to the Division. Some of the locations reopened and others did not. Some operations that tried to reopen had to close again due to lack of sales.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) did not approve a waiver that would allow states to use federal funds to replace inventory. There are restrictions on how federal and set aside funds may be used. Approval is needed for federal funds and the Agency and Committee have to agree on how the monies are spent. RSA said that Congress or the President were only ones that could approve it. There has been some disagreement whether this true but since Congress has the request there is no going back. In addition to the waiver, funds in the amount of thirty-five million has been requested for vendors and programs. The program has heard that the amount was reduced to twenty million. The impact of COVID-19 has varied depending on the facility. Prisons and many food service locations have been closed since March. Post office locations are doing well and some have seen improved sales.

COVID-19 has impacted the expansion of the program as well as sales. From July 2019 to March 2020 eighty-four machines were installed in new locations. Between April and June 2020 the program has only installed two machines. Government locations are not letting outsiders into their buildings and vending has not been a priority. For the state fiscal year of 2018-2019 the program had sales of $23,540,000. As of February 2020 we were ahead of schedule and had sales of $20,344,000. The program had less than $800,000 in sales in April as compared to over two million in 2019. In May 2019 the program had over two million in sales and had less than a million in May 2020. The program has been encouraging vendors to apply for any assistance available including unemployment, grants and PPP loans. Randall Crosby advised the group that the deadline for applying for PPP loans was August 8, 2020. There was discussion on whether vendors would have to pay taxes on these loans.

It has been predicted that Randolph-Sheppard programs could lose from a quarter to a third of their facilities nationally. The Florida program has had four retirements with only one directly related to COVID-19. Currently no facilities have been lost although a number are temporarily closed or have minimal sales. It is likely that things are not going to be the same when this is over. It is expected that an increased number of people will be teleworking. The program will have to wait and see as it is hard to predict how the pandemic will impact the program. Moving forward the program will try not to make any permanent decisions about locations and will continue to review and assess the facilities. This is not the first time the program has had to assess the viability of a location. Over the last few years the program has converted locations from food service. The cafeteria at the FAA at Hilliard was converted to vending only. The Turlington cafeteria and Fort Knox snack bar were converted to micro markets and the program is looking to do the same for the locations at the Douglas and Bob Martinez buildings in Tallahassee. The Douglas building project is on hold because of the cost of renovations and we are waiting for approval from the Department of Management Services (DMS) for the Bob Martinez building location. Another location we are assessing is Facility 455, snack bar in Miami. The location is currently closed and the program is considering a micro market when it is ready to reopen. Converting other food service locations to micro markets is an option if the buildings do not return to full capacity.

Randall Crosby advised the group that the Randolph-Sheppard Vendors of Florida have established a Go Fund Me to help Florida vendors. Persons interested in donating can contact organization president Woody Matthews or vice president Colton Knight. Vendor Charlie Hackney donated one thousand dollars. The organization has a committee that will vet operators to determine need when making the decision on how to distribute funds collected by the group.

Bill Findley advised the group about the situation at Facility 612, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO). The cafeteria is open because of contractual obligations but is not making any money. The program has presented an amendment to the BSO that would allow the operator to close when sales are low. The current contract is not favorable to the vendor. The program tried to negotiate a new agreement when it ended last year, but ultimately the program ended up with an amendment that did not change the agreement. The current agreement ends on November 30, 2020. The program wants an agreement that is more balanced and may have to walk away from the location. Legal will have to get involved. There was discussion about the ability of the program to leave the facility.

The program has two military dining contracts. Facility 606, US Army Special Forces at Key West operated by Antonio Gonzalez is in its second year. Antonio also services a post office in Key West and will do the vending at Zachary Taylor State Park. The program has had Facility 619, Panama City NAS operated by Alton Palmore for five years. The program is in direct negotiations with the military and hopes to have a new contract in place by October 1. The program has been working with the contracting officer in Jacksonville and he has been helpful with the intricacies of the process as well as helpful with the issues at the location. The program has heard that the food service contract at Hurlburt is ending and the facility may be an opportunity for the program. The contracts for vending at Tyndall have been signed by the Department of Education (DOE) and have been sent on to the Department of Defense (DOD). The program also hopes to get the vending at Eglin Air Force Base and Homestead.

The program has been using conference calls and video conferencing. The December Committee meeting will be held remotely. The March 2021 meeting may have to be done the same way. Selection cycle interviews and interviews for the Region 6 Consultant will also be conducted virtually.

Statewide Update – Robert Doyle

Robert Doyle reported that DBS met their goal of putting 755 people in employment status for 2019-2020. Although the goal was met the number of people was down seven percent from the previous year. The Division is managing the current challenges as best they can. Overall the Division has seen a decrease in the number of people served and in the hours of service provided. There was a cut of $300,000 in the budget for children’s programs and $500,000 for babies. State agencies have been asked to reduce their spending by eight and half percent. DBS has been able to carryover monies from previous years and should be able to weather the storm. Services to adults that are not ready or not interested in going to work will be reduced. A new program allows the Division to draw down social security dollars which can be used to supplement federal dollars.

Robert confirmed that although there is more flexibility on travel, the state is still encouraging the use of video conferencing. The Division is adapting and video conferencing will not be going away. Some staff will continue to telework, but the Division is moving forward with phase two which will bring more people back to the offices. District offices will see clients by appointment and staff will ask clients questions about their health and any travel. The Division will get guidance from the state about when an employee can return to work after a positive test result. State agencies will assess which staff can effectively telework. This may result in consolidation of staff in state owned buildings which may help some locations. Robert confirmed that he had received approval on the critical hire request for the consultant position in Miami. The Division is looking at opportunities for clients to apprentice with BBE operators. The Rehab Center at Daytona is still not approved for residents. The Division received money to develop IT training at the center that would allow trainees to get a network training certificate. The Division has a statewide agreement with JAWs, ZoomText and Open Book which allows any client to have a copy on more than one device. Robert recommended that vendors reach out to counselors to reopen a case to get an updated copy. Vendors can also open their case to get additional training. A question was posed about the ability of client services to help vendors replace inventory. The same RSA rules apply but they are looking at options. There may be opportunities for assistance depending on the circumstances.

National Update – Terry Smith

Terry confirmed that a waiver will need to be approved by Congress before programs can use federal dollars to replace inventory. The Secretary of the US Department of Education has requested that they approve the waiver. The waiver is currently not included in either of the acts being considered by the Senate and the House. Both parties are now aware of the request and neither seems to oppose the waiver. The National Association of Blind Merchants (NABM) is still optimistic that it will be included. There is twenty million in the House appropriations bill and thirty-five million has been requested from the Senate. The Senate has not started working on their appropriation and it may be as late as Thanksgiving before it is in place. These monies would be direct relief for vendors and any money not going to vendors would go to the SLA. NABM has backed off on their advocacy and is focusing on the waiver. They asked for the waiver so federal dollars could be used for inventory and a fair minimum return. They are not focusing on fair minimum return as they were told that would not be approved. There is talk about using VR money for inventory. A vendor would not be able to open a case just to get these funds and would need to ask for other services such as training. Terry confirmed that programs nationwide are expecting to lose 15 to 25 percent of the facilities. Nationally the median income for Randolph-Sheppard vendors is $30,000. He expects programs to have to combine facilities to make a living wage for operators. Programs are also seeing older vendors that are looking at retirements. These retirements are indirectly related to COVID-19 and was a trend prior to the pandemic. The program may need to rethink the current model and modernize and improve it. A number of other organizations are advocating for relief including restaurants, vending and convenience stores. Everything is talk and proposal and nothing is certain at this point. NABM has been doing virtual training and has been getting good participation. Nicky Gacos was recently honored by the National Automatic Merchandising Association as its Industry Person of the Year.

Coca-Cola – Jim Warth and Tony Arduengo

Vendors are concerned about service from Coca-Cola. Areas of concern include machine placement, repairs and the set-up of accounts. Vendors are advised to open up an account with Coca-Cola and provide them with your retail sales tax certificate as soon as possible when taking over a new facility. Another area of concern is making sure that Coke machines are assigned to the right vendor. Vendors should verify asset numbers and make sure they are correct when there is a changeover. Recently BBE staff was asked to confirm locations and asset numbers for Coke machines. The list provided by Coke was outdated and included vendors who are no longer active in the program. Business Consultants will work with vendors to update the list. Both Bill Findley and Jim Warth have requested that vendors advise them of any issues so that they can pass the information on to our contact at Coca-Cola Florida.

Electronic Lock Discussion – Sead Bekric

The Policy and Finance subcommittees met on July 30, 2020 to discuss the possibility of putting electronic locks on the storerooms. Members were concerned about the safety and security of facility inventory primarily at rest areas. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has told the program that it needs a key for these rooms to be able to access the room at any time without notice. In addition, FDOT has denied our request to put cameras in the storerooms.

Sead suggested that the program put electronic locks on the storeroom doors. He has done some research and there are a number of options. An electronic lock would allow the vendor to give a key to DOT. Separate codes can be given to employees, suppliers and repairmen and the vendor will be able to monitor who accesses the room and when. The program approves of the plan and feels that the electronic system will satisfy DOT requirements while giving vendor peace of mind. It also addresses DOT concerns that suppliers have access while their representatives do not. There was a discussion about connectivity of the locks in locations that have no Wi-Fi access and have poor cell phone signals. Sead Bekric told the group that vendors in his district have experienced problems with doors being left unlocked, product getting spoiled and personal items being left in the room. Regular keys can be copied and electronic locks would give control to the operator. Maureen Fink suggested that the program do a test in ten locations. The program will need to approach DOT with the plan and Maureen feels that the program should revisit the question of cameras in storerooms. She feels that cameras would not only help protect inventory but also will protect DOT representatives if product goes missing.

Kurt Ponchak made a motion that the Policy and Finance subcommittees should determine specifications for an electronic lock system and develop in conjunction with BBE staff a presentation of our plans for DOT. Seconded by Jose Quintanilla. Passed without objection. Joel Rose indicated that a vendor in his district will not give access to DOT to his storeroom. Operators will not have a choice in this matter and DOT needs to be able to access these rooms in case of emergencies like fire.

Kurt Ponchak is recommending that the program waive the net profit expectation until the end of 2020. The program agrees with the proposal. He further recommended that the Committee review the question at the December meeting. Jose Quintanilla made the motion to suspend the net profit expectation through the end of 2020. Seconded by Joel Rose. Passed without objection.

Daytona Training Report – Training Staff

The snack bar at the Daytona Rehab Center is open and customers pay through the micro market kiosk. Ready- to-eat food is available and customers are accessing the micro market on weekends. Angela Elgaard told the group that the snack bar made a profit in July and that she is changing selections in the vending machines to keep people interested. Steve Moss reported that he was able to do in person vending training with Ryan Akeley. Ryan has completed Daytona training and is now in on the job training. They wore masks and temperatures were taken every day. Two more students are doing remote training and hopefully in person training will resume in October. Steve and Rachel are using Zoom which allows them to share their screens. This slows down the training but they are making it work. Steve asked if qualified persons are still interested in entering the program with the current atmosphere. There was a short discussion about the national median income mentioned by Terry Smith. Median income for Florida vendors is $60,000 as compared to $30,000 nationwide. Joel Rose asked if the program had enough vendors to service all its facilities. The program has seven active vendors that are currently unassigned.

Finance, Auditing and Budget Subcommittee Report/Budget Report – Kurt Ponchak, Bill Findley   

The program received $26,000 in set aside for June 2020. This is about forty to fifty percent less than the same month in 2019. The program is down forty percent in set aside as compared to the same period last year. This is due to set aside not being collected in March, April and May and lower sales in June. Fiscal certified forward $18,000 from the 2019-2020 budget and all but $5,000-$7,000 has been paid. The balance will be paid by the end of the month. There is $119,476 in the Bank of America account and $40,000 in the treasury account. Kurt explained that the goal is to meet the contribution for federal match which is $407,000 and to have reserves for future expenditures. Repair reimbursements were only $11,000 in June which is down about fifty percent.

Type II Report – Maureen Fink

Currently twenty-one facilities are under Type II LOFAs. Three were on the May selection cycle and are awaiting changeovers to the new operator. The changeovers for Facility 519, vending in Miami and Facility 432, I-275 Rest Area Skyway Bridge are scheduled for the end of the month. Eleven facilities will be on future selection cycles and we are determining viability on seven. Mansour Nazari was awarded Facility 568 on the last selection cycle. The program signed him into a Type II for Facility 530, Federal Detention Center in Miami as the facility is closed to visitors and there is no access to do a changeover. There are rumors at the prison that it is not expected to be open to visitors until the end of 2021. The program would like to extend the expiration date of some expired Type IIs until the end of the year. The Type II LOFAs will be extended for the following facilities: 616, 532, 545, 628, 112, 470, 629, 630, 272 and 455. Kurt Ponchak made a motion to extend the Type II for the listed facilities until the end of the year. Seconded by Jose Quintanilla. Passed without objection.

Marketing and Site Development – Greg Coon

New opportunities include Leon County school District in Tallahassee, two buildings in the Indian River County Administrative Complex in Vero Beach and South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area in Weston. The City of Clearwater Library is looking for vending to replace a closed café and Hillsborough contacted the program to add another location. The program passed on an opportunity at the Escambia County courthouse as the terms did not make it a viable opportunity for the program. No one responded to the solicitation and they have re-advertised it. We will continue to monitor it. Twenty-three machines have been installed since July 1, 2020. Fifteen of them have been installed since August 1. Locations include Palm Beach County Water Utilities, FDOT in Gainesville, VA Clinic in Middleburg, City of Clearwater City Manager’s office, Hillsborough County Planning and Zoning Office and the Air Force Clinic in Brandon.

The Department of Children and Family location at the Centre of Tallahassee is still under construction and we need to check on the progress. A micro market is planned for this location. Four USPS locations in Naples are in progress. Ten machines are planned for these locations. The program is waiting on GSA permit for a National Park in Homestead. Additional GSA opportunities include a VA in West Palm Beach, IRS in Jacksonville and a number of social security administrative offices. There have been construction delays on the social security offices. The program is waiting for a response from the Department of Environmental Protection on new terms and a change to utility payments for locations at Zachary Taylor, Ft. Pierce Inlet and Blue Springs State Parks. Also in process is the renewal of five to six agreements, a resolution of issues regarding a Defense Contract Management Agency location and an amendment for the Broward Sherriff’s Office (BSO) facility related to COVID-19 adjustments to service.

Business Analyst Report – John Ahler

Facility 489, I-95 Rest Area South Welcome Center rest area reopened the end of July. Facilities 424 and 425, rest areas at Wellborn closed in early July and have been demolished. Five cafeterias, ten snack bars and eight prisons are closed. March and April were the worst months for sales but now sales are slowly improving. Sales for interstate vending were down thirty-three percent in March, sixty-five percent in April, forty-two percent in May and thirty-two percent in June. Non-highway vending sales were down ten percent in March, forty-nine percent in April, forty-five percent in May and thirty-nine percent in June. Sales in cafeterias were down twenty-nine percent in March, seventy-six percent in April, seventy-two percent in May and sixty-one percent in June. Snack bar sales were down thirty-two percent in March, eighty-eight percent in April, eighty-eight percent in May and eighty-one percent in June. Sales should continue to rise as people come back to their buildings. It is important that vendors keep stocking their vending machines.  

Compliance Officer Report – Alan Risk

A modification of the Monthly Business Report is planned so that vendors can itemize their approved business expenses. This will allow the Agency to track rental and commission payments that some vendors are required to pay. We are waiting for SYLNX, the company that manages the database to set it up in the system. Sixty-nine vendors have completed the CEU requirement. Only five vendors are behind schedule with less than one CEU. No new vendors have been licensed since the May meeting. One trainee is in on the job training and will be licensed in September. Three vendors have been licensed in 2020. There have been no grievances since the May meeting. There have been a total two grievances in 2020.

Five facilities were on the May selection cycle. Interviews were all done via conference call. Mansour Nazari was awarded Facility 568, non-highway vending at the post office distribution center in Opa Locka. Daniel Ochoa was awarded Facility 519, non-highway vending at the post office distribution center in Miami. Facility 432, Interstate rest area on the Skyway Bridge was awarded to Kevin Wheeler and Facility 33, snack bar in the Duval County Courthouse in Jacksonville was awarded to Orlando Ramirez.  Facility 320, Claude Pepper cafeteria was not awarded as a Type I facility.

Grievance/Selection Panels – Alan Risk/Jim Warth

The program has been advised that the Sunshine Law applies to the grievance process. Alan Risk sent a draft policy to legal this week. We are looking at making changes in the process so that we are in compliance with the Sunshine Law. Once legal reviews the policy it will go to the Policy Subcommittee for review and eventually to the Committee. There was some discussion about what was covered by the Sunshine Law and whether the selection cycle and district meetings fall under the rule. It was suggested that the program may need to request an exemption for the selection interviews. The program can move forward with training for committee members and staff once direction is received from the Office of the General Counsel.

Regional/District Updates – All

Region 1 – Brian Ashworth/Janet Chernoff

The program is working on a new contract for Facility 619, the military dining at Panama City. The contract will be for five years. DOE has signed the contract for vending at Tyndall and we are waiting for the DOD to sign it. This will result in sixteen machines that will be added to Facility 620, Panama City vending route. The reopening of the two Jackson County rest areas has been postponed until September due to a delay in getting a water treatment pump. Facility 470, Ft. Knox micro market; Facility 371, FDLE cafeteria and Facility 485, CCOC cafeteria are still closed. A digital menu was installed in FDLE and equipment has been removed from Facility 545, snack bar at the Bob Martinez Center. The program is waiting for a plan approval to convert this location to a micro market. Facility 361, Turlington micro market is open but sales are down about 80 percent. All four correctional institutions are closed.

Facility 441, Larson cafeteria is only open one day a week to provide fresh items for the micro markets at Turlington and Carlton. Facility 273, Collins building is open four days a week and operator is supplementing the income by doing catering. Facility 320, Claude Pepper cafeteria is open and operator is running by herself.

District 1 – Kurt Ponchak

Kurt had nothing to add.

District 2 – Mike Renaud

Mike has nothing to add.

Region 2 - Bernie Kaiserian

The snack bars at Facility 401, State Regional Service Center; Facility 145, Federal Building and Facility 33, Duval County Courthouse are closed. Stefan Mitchell took over Facility 239, Jacksonville Police Department cafeteria in June. Business is down by about two-thirds. Business is also down at Facility 564, Blount Island. Vendor Jimmy Giles retired and Josh Kimrey was awarded a Type II for 513, Downtown Jacksonville vending route. Vendor Natasha Ginarte took over Facility 608, Gainesville-Lake City vending route in January and has had record sales. A DOT location in Gainesville was added to this route. The VA clinic in Middleburg was added to Facility 590, City of Jacksonville route run by Marylynn Giles-Robinson. Sales in Region 2 were down fifty-six percent in March, forty-four percent in April and thirty-six percent in May. The Wellborn rest areas were closed in early July and the locations were demolished by the end of the month.

District 3 – Mitzi Bowen

Mitzi asked representatives to check with their vendors to see if they are having any problems getting rebate checks from RSA. She also encouraged vendors to have a Plan B for servicing their facilities if they or their staff tests positive. She recommended vendors use persons they do not have personal contact with as backup.

District 4 – Randall Crosby

Randall has nothing to add.

Region 3 – Jay Payne

New operator Brenda Nicely-Meade took over Facility 624, East Orlando route the end of July. Facility 586, Orlando vending route is available on a Type II. The planned install for Blue Springs State Park has been delayed. Facilities 403 and 466, snack bars at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) are still closed. The sales for Facility 497 vending at KSC is down 45 percent. Both facilities at Coleman Prison are closed.

District 5 – David Stevens

David has nothing to add.

District 6 – Phil Hubbard

Phil had nothing to add.

Region 4 – Tony Arduengo

Machines installed at the Hillsborough and Air Force Clinic locations were added to Facility 396, East Tampa route. A City of Clearwater location was added to Facility 500, Pinellas County route. Darryl Brinton signed into Facility 161, West Tampa route and card readers have been added to every machine. Ten machines at the post office locations were moved to Facility 565, operated by Kathy Warth. Valerie James was operating Facility 432, Skyway Bridge rest area on a Type II. This was awarded to Kevin Wheeler on the May selection cycle and the changeover is scheduled for the end of the month. The vending area at Lover’s Key is completed with the final inspection on August 13 and the enclosure will be installed on August 21. Facility 112, Collier County was supposed to be combined with Facility 628, Lee County vending but it has been postponed. There is no access to some of the locations. The reopening of Facility 31, Hillsborough County snack has been postponed and now has a tentative opening date in October. Facility 380, I-75 rest is closed and is under construction.

District 7 – Jose Quintanilla

Jose asked about contingency plans if Crane or AMS closed down. The program can purchase machines off contract if needed. He also asked about delivery problems with Coke or Pepsi. There is not much that the program can do about Coke and Pepsi deliveries. Jose welcomed Darryl Brinton into the district.

District 8 – Sead Bekric

Everyone in District 8 is open except Facility 380 which is closed for construction. Sales in his district are down about forty to fifty percent. The traffic has increased on Alligator Alley but sales were impacted with the reports of increases in the number of COVID-19 cases. There is a shortage of coins.

Region 5 – Maureen Fink for Rafaella Diershaw

Rafaella wanted to congratulate vendors Daniel Ochoa and Orlando Ramirez on their awards in the May selection cycle. The only food service in Region 5 that is open is the BSO cafeteria. The program is asking for an amendment to our agreement which would allow the vendor to temporarily close when sales are low. Four Palm Beach County Water Department locations will be added to Facility 257, Palm Beach County route. A coffee cart is planned for the FBI Miramar location. The space at this location will be expanded and storage will be added. Locations in process include Indian River County and the Florida National Guard at Miramar.

District 9 – Joel Rose

Vendor Mark Ogden has had some good locations added to his route which has made it more viable. Everyone else is doing alright. He is sorry to see vendors Daniel Ochoa and Orlando Ramirez leave his district. He is having trouble finding canned sodas in flavors and is looking at using 20 oz. bottles in his machines.

Region 6 – Maureen Fink

Food service at Facility 348, State Regional Service Center and Facility 455, Miami Federal building have been closed since March 23, 2020. Both locations are operated by Jesus Villeda. Sales at Facility 156, Dade County Justice Building are down by sixty percent and the operator is just covering his costs. Sales at Facility 15, Dade County Courthouse are down eighty percent. The jury sides of both locations are closed. The two prisons Facility 512, Miami FCI and Facility 530, Federal Detention Center are closed. Vendor Mansour Nazari was awarded Facility 568, Opa Locka post office on the May selection cycle and was signed into Facility 530 as a Type II. Vendor Faustino Rodriguez retired and vendor Maria Reynolds resigned from her facility. Daniel Ochoa will sign into Facility 519, US Post Office the end of the month. The program will be interviewing candidates for the Region 6 Business Consultant later this month.

District 10 – Alicia Villeda

Everyone is doing well. Many locations have lower sales and some are partially or completely closed.

Round Table – All

Jose Quintanilla was told that a switch from SunPasses to an E-pass that can be used in eighteen states is planned at the end of the year. The Division has not been advised of this transition. There was discussion about whether this would increase or decrease sales of the pass. Some feel that travelers will purchase the pass prior to arriving in Florida. Others feel it may increase sales since it can be used in other states.

Terri Lindstrom spoke about issues with rebates from RSA. It took a year to get her rebates when she relocated. She recommended that vendors keep an eye on their rebates and to work with their District Representatives if they are having problems. Woody Matthews advised the group that a number of Pepsi bottlers are not participating in the rebate program.

Kurt Ponchak moved to adjourn. Seconded by Joel Rose. Adjourned at 4:15pm.


Return to top of page

DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.