LONDON -- Gacha International, formerly Tomy-Yujin, has appointed Ford Gum & Machine Co. Inc. the exclusive distributor of its Gacha bulk vending machines and capsuled merchandise in the United States.
The partnership with Ford is a major step for London-based Gacha International's expansion plans into North America. It follows the appointments of Actionmatic Ltd. (Chatham, ON) as the toy company's exclusive Canadian distributor and Consolidated Vending Programs (Crystal Beach, FL) as an authorized supplier of machines and spare parts.
Gacha International was formed after its American predecessor, Tomy-Yujin Corp., a division of the Tokyo-based toy giant Tomy Co. Ltd., ceased U.S. operations. Tomy-Yujin's surprising U.S. departure in February 2009 followed an overhaul of Tomy's European corporate structure, which resulted in the creation of Gacha International. See story here.
Gacha International's commercial manager, Alan Nowers, who oversees the firm’s operations in the U.S., Canada and Latin America, observed that "Ford Gum is the right partner as we seek to reestablish ourselves in the U.S. marketplace. In evaluating all our options, we had three primary requirements: financial stability, infrastructure and experience. Ford Gum is a robust business with a first-class management team and was a significant customer for Tomy in the past, so they are familiar with our products and way of working.”
Nowers added that Ford provides logistical advantages, too. The Akron, NY-based company has large warehouse and distribution facilities on the East Coast that are supported by satellite facilities in Illinois and California.
Founded in 1913 by pioneering operator Ford Mason, Ford Gum is one of the most recognized names in bulk vending. This brand recognition was aided by Mason's breakthrough process for imprinting the company name on its gumballs. Since its founding, the company has undergone multiple transformations and changes in ownership. Most recently, in 1997, Ford was purchased through a management buyout from Hershey Co. and has since operated as an independent company marketing gum and confectionary products to the vending and retail channels.
"Our experience with Gacha products in the past has been outstanding," said Ford president George Stege. "We have found that their licensed products were a great seller for us, and we’re delighted we will be instrumental in bringing them back to the U.S. operator."
Ford will market Gacha machines and products through its Carousel subsidiary, which handles Ford's gum, candy and capsules for vending. Carousel's Gacha lineup is expected to be available by mid-summer.
Nowers, who is based in Newport Beach, CA, said licensed merchandise with international consumer appeal remains a cornerstone of Gacha's business strategy. New collections for vending are based on FIFA Soccer, Nintendo and Sanrio (Hello Kitty), among other properties.
The Gacha vending system consists of four heads unified beneath an attractive display case. Each head can hold approximately 125 capsules, 2" in diameter. The display shows consumers exactly what they are buying, helping to increase sales. Multiple units can be linked together by plates to create an impressive vending bank.
Read more about Gacha International's return to the U.S. Market.
Information on Gacha products from Ford's Carousel division can be had by calling Barbara Deleon at (847) 955-0003.