LAS VEGAS -- Making its debut in March at the Amusement and Fun Expos here was the Cotton Candy Factory, a vending machine that entertains while preparing and serving a portion of fresh cotton candy. It is being rolled out by VendEver Corp., also headquartered in Las Vegas.
Developed by Taiwan's Feiloli Electronic Co., the Cotton Candy Factory is licensed exclusively to VendEver for the North American market. Feiloli, which began as a manufacturer of industrial control systems a quarter of a century ago, expanded into amusement equipment design and manufacture early in the last decade.
Catalyzing the advent of the new machine in this country was Brian Duke, a veteran of almost 30 years in the coin machine industry, and former executive of Intermatic Manufacturing, which makes and markets a cotton candy vender.
Recognizing the opportunity for a reliable cotton candy vending machine in the U.S. market, Duke linked up with Feiloli and established VendEver. He explained that his objective has been to bring to market a simple, low-maintenance unit that is easy to service and highly profitable, and he is confident that the Feiloli cotton candy machine is the answer.
"The best thing is that it works, right out of the box," Duke reported. "Operators are going to love this machine as much as the paying customers love the cotton candy it makes, always served fresh in under a minute."
Feiloli developed the machine with an eye toward simplicity and serviceability, using state-of-the-art components common throughout the coin-op industry, Duke explained. It has familiar electronic parts, like optosensors, that are understood by every technician. Stainless steel was chosen for the interior, rather than plastic, to simplify cleaning and extend service life. Cool, energy-efficient LEDs were selected to illuminate the interior: They offer long life and they cannot become a safety hazard by breaking.
To minimize potential service problems, the manufacturer developed (and patented) a novel self-cleaning system that's activated after every 10 vends to scour the sides of the candy bowl. This prevents sticky build-up that impairs product quality, Duke reported.
Other advances include a spinning process that yields light, fluffy, dry cotton candy without subjecting the spin head to excessive heat or torque, the company founder added. And the machine employs a spin head assembly made by Gold Medal Products, a leading manufacturer of equipment used by concessionaires. The component spins at 3,200 RPMs, a slower speed than comparable equipment, which "cooks through" the sugar completely.
Feiloli, experienced in designing equipment for Taiwan's hot, humid climate, made provision for maintaining optimal temperature in the cooking chamber for consistent results in a wide range of environments. The manufacturing process does not use water.
The Cotton Candy Factory holds 12 lbs. of sugar, which can produce about 300 vends. The cost of ingredients for a single vend is 10¢, and consists of 25g. of sugar at 2¢ and one stick at 8¢. The recommended vend price is $2.
Vaughn Williamson serves as technical services director for VendEver. Another longtime industry veteran, Williamson has served with Rowe International and Fastcorp, as well as gaining extensive experience in the distribution and operating segments.
An important part of VendEver's marketing strategy is to manufacture the Cotton Candy Factory in the United States. The initial supply of machines is coming from Taiwan, but Duke plans to start production here this summer, under a manufacturing license from Feiloli. Williamson's responsibilities will include helping to supervise the manufacturing operation.
"We feel that, with the enormous potential for sales in North America, VendEver needed to quickly supply machines to customers," Duke told VT. "Customer service begins here at home, so no one will have to call anyone overseas to get parts or service, if they need assistance. That will be VendEver's job, and we gladly accept that role. We understand that time is money to our customers."
Williamson will manage all aspects of customer service, from product development and training to "24/7" technical support. Duke emphasized that customers who call the toll-free service number between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. (Pacific time) will be connected to a live person, seven days a week – including holidays. Calls made between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. will be returned within a short time. The goal is to have a live person available to assist customers at any hour, Duke summed up.
Information on the machine and program can be had by calling Brian Duke at (510) 376-9607.
Las Vegas HQ Grand Opening
VendEver, now a registered Nevada corporation, is moving into a new sales and administrative facility building near Las Vegas. The address is 6100 Mountain Vista, Ste. 110, Henderson, NV 89014. The phone numbers are (702) 967-0440 and fax (702) 967-0439.
The new company, which markets the Cotton Candy Factory vending machine, maintains a 24/7 live service line at (888) 586-5368. The service department can also be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Separately, Daniel Duke has joined the vending company as customer service manager. Duke, the younger brother of VendEver Corp. president and chief executive Brian Duke, has served in customer service roles outside of the coin-op industry.
"Daniel has always been great at problem solving and making a customer's experience pleasant whenever they need assistance," the VendEver president said. "He is committed to keeping our customers satisfied long after the sale."