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Issue Date: Vol. 46, No. 1, January 2006, Posted On: 2/3/2006

Al “The Peanut Man” Expands Bulk Route’s Potential In His New Distribution Venture

Hank Schlesinger

NEW YORK CITY — Al Swiderski, best known as Al “the peanut man,” is launching a new company to expand his service expertise beyond traditional bulk vending. The New York-based operator, who claims to have previously built a route that grossed more than a $1 million, advises operators to look for value in their routes outside of bulk vending. Specifically, said Swiderski, there is real, added value in bulk vending routes as a distribution channel for other, non-vended products.

“This is about changing thought patterns and helping operators realize the value in their business as a distribution network,” said Swiderski. “It’s time operators started thinking outside the box.”

Outside the box for Swiderski means thinking outside the bulk vender. He has already launched a pilot program on his own route wherein he offers non-vended socks, scarves and other merchandise for sale in appropriate locations.

“We looked at everything we could to make ourselves run more efficiently,” the operator explained. “So we put everyday-use products on the truck; we started with socks, tested them and found they added value to some accounts. For instance, we put socks in hardware stores, then added hats and scarves for the wives.”

The new company Swiderski formed to expand the concept, Gumball Brand Products, is designed to bring the idea to other bulk vending operators, as well as to full-line and foodservice operations. His proximity to New York City’s famed Garment District allows him to purchase both small and large quantities of clothing and accessories that operators can place in locations. These may include socks and scarves, but also extends to hats, wallets, watches, belts and sunglasses. Swiderski plans to employ a spot purchasing strategy. In essence, he views his role as a broker between the vending industry and the Garment District.

“Operators can give locations an order on consignment, have them pay cash or do it against commission from the bulk vender,” he explained.

Currently, Swiderski is open to suggestions from operators when it comes to merchandise. “I’m in the Garment District all the time,” he said. “I can shop, re-box, and ship it out. If they want a display, it’s not a problem; there are display houses here and they all make displays.

More information may be had from Swiderski by calling (646) 585-9410.

Topic: Bulk Vending

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