ST. LOUIS, MO - American Vending Machines has established a strong reputation and steadily expanded its operator clientele since its foundation in 1997. The company now is expanding, applying its used equipment refurbishing skills to contract remanufacturing for large clients, including Canteen Vending Services and Pepsi-Cola, and is becoming known outside its core Midwestern market area.
President J. Andrew (Andy) Hayes attributes this success to a skilled, experienced team and to the company's origin as a vending operation. Founded in 1988, American Vending Co. grew to a five-route full-line vending and coffee service business.
As an operator, Hayes recalls purchasing used equipment as he needed it, with decidedly mixed results. The first truckload of "location-ready" machines was satisfactory; the second was less so, and the third was so "unserviceable" that he had to return it.
That was when the light bulb went on, he said; he did not think that used equipment sales had to be a sort of lottery. "Somebody had to do it, and do it right," he concluded; and he has never looked back.
The fledgling used-equipment business began with two assets: Hayes's own proactive sales approach and the talents of general manager Gary Medley, the "operational guru" of the company. With the continued growth of its customer base and the extension of its services to contract remanufacturing, AVM retained Don Govro as production manager. With 28 years of industry experience, he has expanded the talent pool and positioned the company "to go from good to great," Hayes said.
He explained that most of his employees have worked for full-line operators, and thus have a keen awareness of customer needs. "It's important to know the other side of the fence," the vending veteran observed.
AVM puts this expertise at the disposal of its customers, some of whom are new to one or another facet of the vending business. Thus, the company conducts preventive maintenance service schools on a wide range of subjects, from correct loading methods to keeping coin mechs and bill validators clean and working reliably. AVM also has become a distributor for new equipment from such manufacturers as Crane-GPL, Signature Vending Systems and U-Select-It.
Still based in St. Louis, AVM presently serves operators in a 10-state region, and Hayes sees no obstacles to further growth. The company recently became one of seven Dr Pepper-certified remanufacturing facilities in the United States, and its clients range from two-machine operations to national companies. AVM-serviced machines are available through a growing network of distributors. International sales are expanding as well, since the company can ship equipment anywhere in the world.
The company also prides itself on the strength of its warranties and on the array of computer and Internet services it employs on behalf of its customers.
American Vending Machines is based at 2035 Shenandoah Ave., St. Louis, MO 63104, tel. (888) 818-8363. The company maintains a website at www.american-vending.com.