OCEANSIDE, NY — Coinstar Inc. (Bellevue, WA), a nationwide operator of vending, amusement and coin-counting equipment, has dramatically reduced the staff and functions of its Folz Vending Co. manufacturing plant and offices, located here on Long Island.
According to company officials, many of Folz Vending’s route management and warehouse operations have already shifted to other Coinstar facilities. Approximately 200 employees from the factory, warehouse and office of the former Folz headquarters are expected to lose their jobs as the facility is turned into a small regional sales and supply chain office.
The longtime corporate headquarters of Folz Vending, a 40,000-sq.ft. building, has been sold. This location served as a central hub for what was at one time the nation’s largest bulk vending concern, with an estimated 140,000 machines in 14,000 locations across 48 states and Canada.
At its peak, Folz Vending was said to have grossed about $55 million a year. Although supported by a network of smaller, satellite facilities located in key regions, the Long Island headquarters was the company’s main location, with personnel at the facility refurbishing some 40,000 machines a year, creating the firm’s distinctive display cards and shipping product nationwide.
“Coinstar has made a strong commitment to the entertainment vending industry and we are aggressively working to strengthen our position in this business,” said Mike Skinner, Coinstar’s senior vice-president of entertainment services. “The work that has historically been done in the Oceanside facility will be consolidated into our Lecanto, FL, and Van Nuys, CA, facilities. We will maintain a regional office in the Long Island area, which will continue to provide support to the entertainment business. The Oceanside employees have been important contributors to the success of the bulk business, and we wish them only the best as they take on new challenges and opportunities.”
Founded by Roger Folz in 1949 with the placement of a single Northwestern nut vender set on a nickel vend in a local tavern, Folz and his brother, Harold, grew the business for some five decades. Roger headed the company and became a legendary figure in the bulk vending industry as newcomers to the industry attempted to duplicate his success.
Folz was among the first bulk vending operators to integrate sophisticated computer software into route management, with a system that allowed managers to track sales of every product vended through his firm’s machines. He was also a central figure in National Bulk Vendors Association’s lobbying efforts, winning tax exemptions for vended products in multiple states over the years.
Coinstar’s reorganization follows what many in the industry have deemed a strategy of integrating the Folz operation, along with other acquisitions, into the Coinstar corporate structure. This process includes the removal of the familiar confection-themed Folz logo that appeared on all venders.
“It’s the end of Folz Vending, that’s for sure,” said Folz. “It’s now Coinstar. And they did what they wanted to do.”
According to Folz, who will turn 80 in February, he will continue to stay on with the company, though is presently unsure of the role he will play.
Folz sold the business in 2003 to American Coin Merchandising Inc., which was acquired by Coinstar a year later. Founded in 1991 to provide self-service coin counting machines to retail establishments, the company has since grown to become the largest bulk vending and skill crane operator in the country.
Coinstar’s acquisition of ACMI also included Sugarloaf Creations (Louisville, CO), a leading provider of skill cranes. In 2005, the firm acquired The Amusement Factory (Van Nuys, CA), which operated a full line of entertainment services. Today, the multinational firm operates in more than 65,000 locations, including many of the nation’s largest discount retailers and supermarket chains.