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gumball guy

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gumball guy last won the day on April 20

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  1. gumball guy

    Skittles gone from all of SE Michigan SAms Club

    You can also try Vistar. I have never used them but I know some vendors on here do. There is one in Belleville, Michigan and 2 just outside Chicago.
  2. gumball guy

    Skittles gone from all of SE Michigan SAms Club

    Did you talk to the store manager because that seems a lousy answer even for their inept management staff. If that is the best you can do at the store then call Sam's customer service number (via their website) and ask them why you can't get them in your store any longer. If they quit carrying them at your local stores you may have to go to direct delivery from them or search for another local wholesaler. BJ's or Costco are also options.
  3. gumball guy


    I have always bought Oak & Northwestern equipment but acquired lots of other equipment over the years buying out competitors. If the equipment worked and did not detract from sales I always kept it in place until I had to switch it out with an Oak, Northwestern or Eagle. I have been able to buy used Oak equipment for years cheaper than it was to buy it new so I'm not going to apologize for making a prudent business move there. As I stated earlier, the outstanding quality of these machines did not help them when it came to new equipment sales because when a machine lasts for decades you just won't need to buy new ones. Furthermore I think Oak & Northwestern are culpable in their own demise based on exactly what T & T stated above...."There’s always going to be change in any business that you’re in, the bulk vending business is no different.". Well as the industry started to change Oak & Northwestern didn't respond by putting out lower cost products to compete with the imports. They could have still sold the great machines at the higher price but also offered cheaper equipment for much less. Just think if Oak or Northwestern would have manufactured a version of the Vendstar or LYPC machine???? They would probably still be in business today. They had the engineering and know how to do it but I don't think they ever took the import threat seriously until it was too late. As for parts there are still tons out on the market that fit Oak & Northwestern. If no other manufacturer steps up to provide new 50 cent mechs for Oak Vistas/300s and NW Super 60s then it will be time to start transitioning to a manufacturer like Beaver. Time will tell.
  4. gumball guy


    Odds are the United States will never move to a new coin. The cost would probably be prohibitive plus banks/retailers in this country have no interest in handling coin anymore than they already have to. I imagine that the United States has designs on going completely cashless sometime in the next 25 to 50 years though I don't know if they will be able to do it. I believe gumball vending and candy vending still has a viable long term future as long as cash is still around. The cost of gumballs is low and will be for some time barring some unforeseen event. Bulk candy vending is an alternative for locations that cannot support full line vending and still does well in most traditional locations. Down the road certain candies like peanut M & Ms will need to push up to 50 cent vends but that is not the end of the world. Even though it still makes money today I agree bulk toy vending is headed for rough seas. It's tight profit margin will continue (as Rodney said) to get even tighter. Competition with multi state operators, floor space concerns, retailers wanting higher commissions, difficulty placing equipment, limited customer base and dealing with ever changing, fickle retail management personnel who can make your life miserable with a split second decision also creates concern. I don't think the sector is on the way out but it will take close cost monitoring, reasonable commissions, and a strong locating program to keep it making money down the road.
  5. gumball guy


    Charity bulk is still chugging along fine. Like Sweetstop said the business is changing. The money is still out there but you always need to be locating and willing to think outside the box at times when assessing possible locations. If you are going to be successful you need to be willing and able to try all demographics and push out geographically when necessary. Cash isn't going away anytime soon so I really don't see that as a business killer in the short term. Sure alot more people use credit cards today than ever before but there is still a huge section of society that uses cash. As far as Northwestern, Oak and A & A go the high quality of their products hurt them in the long run. Those machines last for decades and there seems to be a limitless supply of used ones still available everywhere so that doesn't help new machine sales. Add in all of the Chinese junk that has flooded the market in recent years and it spelled trouble for the aforementioned manufacturers. As of right now I don't know what the status of Oak Manufacturing is. Obviously they have been scaled back for years and basically only selling refurbs (another testament to the high quality of their original equipment) but when I talked to Jim several months ago and he said they had suffered significant losses in the California fires last year. He had no idea when or if they would be back up an running normally anytime soon. I am not sure who told you Eagle is barely hanging on but they are a subsidiary of a much larger manufacturing company so they apparently have deeper pockets now. I talked to them about 6 months ago and they told me they were back ordered because of demand. Maybe things have changed since then.
  6. gumball guy


    The banter on the site may not be as consistent as it once was but as AZ pointed out there is now so much accumulated information archived here that people don't need to ask as many questions as they once did. Answers to most vending questions can be found using the search function and If you are interested in vending there is no other site that gives such a comprehensive sampling of the industry. It is truly a great resource and I encourage all of you to throw a few bucks to the website to keep it up and running for years to come.
  7. gumball guy

    Got this for free today

    Those Astros are a version of the Oak Acorn machine. I have added a link to a post T-Bird Johnny posted back in 2010 about the history of Oak Vending machines. Interesting read.
  8. gumball guy

    Lost machine

    You have the right attitude and (like you said) see the big picture. That is why you've been successful in this business. It is truly frustrating when these type of situations occur but in the long run it is just not cost effective to drag these idiots into court or legal to drag them into the parking lot for what they really deserve. Sure it would feel good to win a judgement but even with that you may never get paid. Unfortunately this situation falls into the "cost of doing business" category. Like you said "write it off" and move forward towards your goal because that is the winning strategy in this business.
  9. gumball guy

    2 for .25 Gumballs

    i use them all of the time against competition and when to trying to jump start slow locations.
  10. gumball guy

    Called a locater today

    They are deeper and taller than many traditional single, double, triple set ups. I have a competitor that runs that setup in some locations (actually 4 heads) and they are pretty imposing in smaller venues that are tight on space. He actually got kicked from one location because of space and my single head got to stay. They are awkward to move and have a larger footprint than a 1-800 triple or even a Northwestern Triple Play. It all comes down to personal preference. The Beavers are very good looking machines and that is a big plus but customers could care less what brand they are as long as they get their candy. The capacity of the big barrel globes is not really a selling point and honestly if you fill them all the way up you will be throwing away ALOT of candy. I know you like these machines and have alot of money invested in them but you would probably fare better with the Beaver doubles. I guarantee doubles would be easier to place.
  11. Generally machines like this are cheaper Chinese knock off's of industry standard brands like Northwestern, Oak, Beaver and Eagle just to name a few. The machines I mentioned will last for decades and most of the time the knock offs will only make it a fraction of that time. Even the all metal coin mechs on the knock offs tend to be made out of inferior metal or lack quality engineering and ultimately fail much earlier then the name brand mechs. That said I have never seen the machine you have there. It looks like a copy of the Northwestern Super 80 which is a top of the line industry work horse. Unfortunately Northwestern is out of business so you can only buy them used now. I always encourage people to buy used quality machines on ebay, Crasigslist, etc... instead of the Chinese imports. It is usually more cost effective and you get proven quality but it can take time to find what you want. That said I can understand the interest in buying a brand new machine that looks great and is ready to go without the need to clean or paint it. If you are happy with the one you have been using then continue to use them until you detect a problem (remember consistent mis-vends and coin mech failures are a great way to be shown the door). Since you are only buying three then it not that big of a deal. If you were really wanting to build a larger business I would really start looking for Northwesterns. In regards to the .75 & 1.00 coin mechs I completely agree with orsd and AMD. You can sell more attractive and popular mixes at the higher price points and help your margin out as well. It is also easier to go into a new location with the higher price point then to go in at .50 cents for a year then flip to .75 or 1.00 later. Good luck going forward.
  12. gumball guy

    Need help finding info

    I have never worked with the March of Dimes charity but I would suggest you just call them or ask the person who told you you about the yearly fee in the first place.
  13. gumball guy

    Vends tar 3000

    Make sure your candy wheel is "timed" correctly. At the end of each vend there should be an open compartment directly over the candy chute. If not it results in the mis-vends that you are describing. You will need to take the canister out and look at it from underneath because the brush off housing prevents you from seeing it from the top. Manually turn the candy wheel until there is an open compartment over the hole and then put the canister back in place.
  14. gumball guy

    Possible Siphoning Theft?

    If you really are concerned about theft then count your inventory for the next few cycles and compare it to the money you take in. 20 capsules gone you should have $10.00. Sure it will take a few extra minutes but at least you will know. You could also just buy a new lock if you are convinced it is theft and not a mechanical issue. If it is indeed theft you will need a new lock anyway.
  15. Liability insurance is a must if you want to protect yourself against injury or damage claims. Operating as an LLC or corporation also gives another layer of protection. If someone gets hurt by a piece of vending equipment and they want to sue they will usually name as many parties as they can to give them better odds of a payout. That means the location and the vendor could both be defendants in a civil suit. As far as the broken window situation I think it would matter what the circumstances of the incident were. If the stand was defective, snapped and hit the window there is a good chance the vending operator could be liable. If someone was horsing around and knocked your machine into a window then I think the vendor would have a reasonable argument against responsibility. Again these are hypothetical situations so who knows how the situation would turn out. Bottom line is you need liability insurance if you want to protect yourself in any business.