Konop Celebrates 70 Years Of Innovation, Pays Homage To Its Bulk Vending Origin

Posted On: 3/24/2017

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TAGS: Konop Companies, vending, bulk vending, peanut vending machine, Konop anniversary, Louie Konop, coin-op, bulk vending, breakroom refreshments, office coffee, micro market, Kristina Spang, Pierce Manufacturing Inc.

Konop Companies, vending, bulk vending, peanut vending machine GREEN BAY, WI -- Konop Cos. Inc. is celebrating 70 years of serving northeast Wisconsin, officially marking the occasion this past November. The company was founded in 1946 by Louie Konop, who purchased a bulk vending route with 120 one-cent peanut machines and quickly recognized the business's growth potential. The founder's belief in "The Power of the Peanut" has prevailed, and themes the company's 70th anniversary fête.

The company's current leaders -- Dave and Tom Konop and their sister, Mary Borley -- are members of the second generation to run the business. In the midst of the anniversary celebration, they are reflecting on their journey to this milestone, while looking forward to further innovations that will maintain the organization's stature as an industry leader.

Of course, the company has expanded beyond peanuts since its mid-20th-century origin. Today, the Konop operation offers a full line of services, which include catering, dining, vending, coffee and water, as well as fresh micromarkets, in its market area. With 165 employees, it has become one of the largest independently owned vending, food and beverage service companies in Wisconsin. The firm presently runs three interrelated divisions from its Green Bay headquarters: Konop Vending Machines, Konop Food & Catering and Konop Beverages.

"Fresh" is the firm's mantra; its owners take great pride in their complete kitchen and bakery, which prepare fresh products in-house daily.

The owners also pride themselves on being on the forefront of technology and innovation in everything they do. They were among the first to adopt a real-time data capture and retrieval system on their vending machines. Their new micromarket service for breakroom refreshments continues this tradition.

These upscale micromarket workplace cafés, providing easy access to a wide range of fresh food, snacks and refreshing beverages by means of a self-checkout kiosk, have afforded the operation a renewed opportunity to emphasize its commitment to foodservice excellence. Employees can choose from a large variety of gourmet and healthy food options and refreshments. The owners report that Konop also has an edge on implementing the concept by offering an advanced consumer loyalty program.

Meeting The Market

They have also shown their commitment to staying ahead of the game by recognizing that today's consumers are more health-conscious. A widespread public misconception about the industry is its perceived lack of healthy options. The Konop organization has helped to dispel this illusion by offering healthier varieties of traditional favorites. The company has also engaged with a dietitian and nutritionist to ensure the highest quality nutritional standards in everything it offers.

"When we transitioned to healthier options in our vending machines, they were very accommodating and responsive to our wellness vision," said customer Laura McCarthy of Boldt Co. "The outstanding coffee, fantastic meal options and great vending choices always exceed our expectations."

The Konop management team emphasizes that it takes the time to appreciate the efforts of its employees. They understand that achieving the 70-year landmark is directly related to the contributions of the people who work there.

"Staying on the leading edge of technology is key to our success, so our employees need to be adaptable to change," said Mary Borley. "They share our commitment to enhancing the customer experience."

Borley also considers that staying true to its roots has played a big role in the company's success. The owners hold close their core values of honesty, integrity hard work and fun. They also build customer loyalty through face-to-face relationships.

"There are not many family-run companies like ours in this industry anymore," Tom Konop said. "It has become so competitive, and national companies have been buying up family-run businesses like ours. Being part of a family business, we feel a sense of responsibility to all of our employees and their families."

The company has found that this is valued by clients. "The importance of longevity and family traditions is often overlooked in business," said Kristina Spang of Pierce Manufacturing Inc. "There is a lot to be said for companies such as Konop that have survived decades of change -- they must be doing something right! The fact that people matter is reflected in how they treat their customers."

In addition to serving the community through its traditional services, Konop takes it a step further through the numerous community organizations it gives back to throughout northeastern Wisconsin.

"My father always said, the community has been good to us, so we need to give back to the community," Dave Konop said. "Community involvement has always been important to our family."

The Konop organization is online at konopcompanies.com.

Konop, vending, micro market
STATE OF THE ART: The Konop Cos. Inc. quickly adapted to the newest concept in breakroom refreshments, the micromarket. This self-checkout market features reach-in display and wire racks to accommodate a wide range of products.