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Betson Opens Its First Southeast Office, Names Capilouto Manager; Greater Southern To Close

Posted On: 4/1/2009

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Coin-op, Vending, Vending Machine, Arcade, Amusements, Jukebox, Pinball, Videogame, Betson Enterprises, Greater Southern Distributing

Betson Opens Its First Southeast Distributorship, Names Capilouto Manager

CARLSTADT, NJ -- Betson Enterprises, a division of H. Betti Industries, is opening its first facility in the Southeast, and will begin delivering product and providing service in April through a temporary facility, according to an announcement by HBI president Bob Geschine. He said that a new facility, which will be based in Georgia, would be ready soon at a location to be disclosed.

As part of its expansion effort, Betson has appointed David Capilouto, formerly a co-president of Greater Southern Distributing Co. (Smyrna, GA), to manage the new office. "I am very pleased to have David on board," Geschine said. "We are really fortunate to have his intimate knowledge of the Southeast marketplace and his management abilities as part of the Betson team."

Also supporting the launch of Betson Southeast are Rick Murphy and Craig Boyd in sales, and Keith Hamm and Carl Frazier in parts. Capilouto can be reached at (770) 274-9081 and Rick Murphy at (770) 274-9082.

"We will have plenty of stock of all our Raw Thrills products, including our latest hit Guitar Hero Arcade, as well as other manufacturers that we represent," Geschine reported. The office will carry product from more than 40 amusement factories, as well as Rowe and Rock-Ola jukeboxes, which run on the AMI Entertainment network. It will also carry full-line vending and OCS equipment, including Lavazza coffee products.

Betson Enterprises, North America's largest coin machine distributor, runs alongside other HBI divisions including Imperial International, a wholesaler of billiard accessories and related items, and Betson Imperial Parts & Service Co., a supplier of equipment parts, components and accessories to merchandise vendors, amusement operators and OEMs. With the addition of its Southeast office, Betson, headquartered in Carlstadt, NJ, now maintains branch offices in 13 major U.S markets.

For the largest state east of Mississippi, Georgia has been home to a relatively small number of distributors in recent years. Greater Southern had played a key role in amusements and vending since 1964. It recently sold its vending distribution assets, and GS co-president Rubin Pihajust announced that the distributorship is shutting down completely. A&M Equipment Sales (Lithonia, GA) is the state's major vending distributor.

Brady Distributing Co., headquartered in Charlotte, NC, is the largest equipment sales and service organization in the Southeast. Brady reportedly is planning to open its first office in Atlanta, giving it greater access to Georgia's operators and its customers in surrounding southern states. The company also has offices in Memphis, Miami and Orlando, FL.

Greater Southern To Close Distribution Business

SMYRNA, GA -- Greater Southern Distributing Co., whose roots in the coin-op business date back to the early 20th century, is shutting down its distribution business here. Co-president Rubin Piha said it was a tough a decision, but one that had to be made in the face of the ailing economy and struggling industry.

Greater Southern is an offshoot of Franco Novelty Co., which was founded during the 1920s in Montgomery, AL, as an amusement equipment operation. As the operating business grew, the company expanded into distribution and launched Franco Distributing.

In 1964, the principals of Franco Distributing bought Robinson Distributing Co. in Atlanta on Edgewood Avenue. They changed the name to Greater Southern to reflect its regional identity. Rubin Franco continues to run the Montgomery business, Franco Distributing Co., which will turn its focus from distribution back to operations. The businesses have been run by four generations of the related Franco, Capilouto and Piha families.

David Capilouto, who ran Greater Southern alongside Piha, has joined the Betson organization, which is opening an office in Georgia. Greater Southern, which also served South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Florida's panhandle, opened a new 50,000-sq.ft. building in Smyrna in 2001. It's now for sale, Piha told VT.