READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS
Broker of the Year
Suchart Vend Brokerage LLC,
Overland Park, Kan. By Elliot Maras, Editor
T he vending industry is facing some challenges, but
that doesn’t discourage Keith Bottorff. In the more
than 25 years he’s been in the confections industry,
Bottorff, owner of Suchart Vend Brokerage LLC, based in
Overland Park, Kan., has learned that change is part of the
Keith Bottorff is
business, and if you like the business and work hard, it’s operators to new
good to you. technology. This
Bottorff, the 2009 Automatic Merchandiser Broker of investment is
the Year, spent several years on the manufacturer side of
the confection industry before getting into the broker side,
than he had
and he considers himself lucky to have made that move.
Bottorff got into the vending industry in the early
1990s, when many national name brand manufacturers
were beginning to discover it. His brokerage was able to
enjoy several years of solid growth before the recession hit.
Bottorff thinks the vending industry has a few more
tough years to weather, but in the not-too-distant future, he the business. He and a partner, Dave Lerner, bought
predicts better proﬁtability. Suchart’s candy and tobacco wholesale brokerage business
One thing Bottorff hopes will not change is the impor- while Suchart became Kansas City’s ﬁrst dedicated vend
tance of personal relationships. This is something that has product broker.
always been important in vending. During the 1980s, many candy and tobacco wholesalers
“Relationships still matter in this industry,” he said. consolidated, diminishing Bottorrff’s and Lerner’s broker-
age business. Fortunately, Suchart was looking to retire, so
BEGINNING AS A CANDY MANUFACTURER SALES MANAGER Bottorff and another partner, the late Judy Tramill, bought
When the late Bill Suchart started his vend brokerage Suchart’s vend brokerage in 1991.
in 1983, Bottorff was working