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Issue Date: Vol. 54, No. 7, July 2014, Posted On: 7/8/2014

Umbrella-Rental Vending Machines Come To The Rescue In Big Apple

Emily Jed
TAGS: umbrella vending machine, umbrella rental machine, 'brellaBox machine, automated umbrella machine, John O'Connor, Anusha Kambhampaty, WeWork Charging Bull

NEW YORK CITY -- New Yorkers caught umbrella-less in a downpour can stay dry on the fly by renting one from a 'brellaBox machine. For $2.50, the automated two-way vending machine dispenses an umbrella, which patrons have 16 hours to return or be charged for its full cost.

New York-based entrepreneurs John O'Connor and Anusha Kambhampaty conceived 'brellaBox with a vision of making it easier, cheaper and more environmentally friendly for New Yorkers to stay dry.

"I was tired of getting caught in the rain without an umbrella," said O'Connor, adding that the machines curb the waste of cheap umbrellas. "People forget their umbrellas at home and buy one for a few bucks, then it breaks right away. You end up with tons of broken umbrellas left all over the streets and filling garbage cans. It's a tremendous waste of resources."

Totes Isotoner supplied umbrellas, which can reportedly withstand winds up to 70 mph, for the launch.

The vending machine is making its debut at WeWork Charging Bull, a shared workspace for startups and small businesses located in Manhattan's financial district. The company's founders plan to expand the concept in the city and beyond.

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