WILLOUGHBY, OH -- WRG Services Inc., which began as a two-man operation based out of a small warehouse, is celebrating 20 years in the ATM and vending businesses this year. The anniversary observance follows another WRG milestone: passing the 10,000 mark on the number of ATMs for which the company provides transactions services in 2008, which was announced in March.
"Our experience in the coin-operated amusement industry positioned us to succeed in the ATM industry," said WRG president Jim Penza, who founded the Ohio-based company with Mike Stevenson. "Our growth in the past five years has been phenomenal."
The company was launched as a vending and amusement operation, and incorporated as Western Reserve Games in 1989. It was a traditional "street" business, primarily running coin-op games and cigarette vending machines in locations mostly situated on the east side of Cleveland. WRG transitioned into a full-service ATM company in 1996, and today it maintains a 25,000-sq.ft. facility here and employs more than 50 people.
Twelve years ago, a change in banking rules allowed operators of automated teller machines to collect a fee for their use. This enabled enterprises other than financial institutions to place ATMs, and Western Reserve Games recognized the opportunity this presented to vending, music and amusement operators. After demonstrating that this opportunity is not only real, but also practical and substantial, the company began its transition to a nationwide distributor and service provider for independent ATM operators.
WRG's processing high point in 2008 represented an increase of more than 17% from 2007, according to Stevenson, who is WRG's chief executive.
"When we started processing ATM transactions over 10 years ago, our hope was to add a dozen terminals a month," he said. "Our rate of growth in 2008 exceeded the market leader; we averaged growth of well over 100 deployed ATMs per month.
"And it's hard to believe that only three months after announcing the addition of our 10,000th terminal we are celebrating the addition of our 11,000th terminal," the chief executive continued. "We have come a long way in 20 years."
In addition to ATM sales and processing, WRG provides equipment financing, training and credit/debit card merchant services. The company's Apollo and Genesis ATM models are designed for locations served by vending and amusement operations. Over the years, the ATM company's sales achievements have been acknowledged with awards from The Inc. 500, Weatherhead 100, Fast Track 50, RBS Lynk and Hypercom Corp.