Yell-O-Glow Expands Massachusetts Cash-And-Carry To Serve Vending Operators, Picking Up Where Vistar's Merchant Mart Left Off

Posted On: 11/21/2017

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MEDFORD, MA -- Vistar closed the doors of its Merchants Mart wholesale cash-and-carry store here in mid-June. Yell-O-Glow, a Chelsea, MA-based grocery and restaurant supply company, has stepped in to fill its place, giving local vending and OCS operators no need to look elsewhere for their product needs.

Without skipping a beat, Yell-O-Glow, which operates its own cash-and-carry store in nearby Chelsea, MA, expanded beyond the thousands of SKUS it already distributed to serve the needs of the vending sector.

     Charlie MacGregor
Charlie MacGregor, who managed Vistar's Medford, MA, Merchants Mart facility for 17 years, immediately became vending division manager of Yell-O-Glow after Vistar shut down. His relationship with an operator customer played a role in Yell-O-Glow's decision to expand into the vending sector by leveraging the existing cash-and-carry location and customer base Vistar had built.

"One of my customers stopped in to buy apple, pear and guava juices in cans to vend in his machines, and he made the connection that Yell-O-Glow could be a good fit, since he knew Vistar was closing the facility," MacGregor recalled. "I made a lot of local relationships over 17 years -- mom-and-pops that don't have the means to take delivery, and there's only so much they can get at big box stores."

In addition to having easy access to vending's most popular brands and SKUs, many operators are discovering Yell-O-Glow's ethnic specialties and finding a market for them in their machines, MacGregor added.

MacGregor added about 500 SKUs to the 4,500 or so Yello-O-Glow had available to its customers when he came aboard.

He said the majority of Merchants Mart's 50 to 75 customers stayed on with Yell-O-Glow, and new ones regularly come aboard.

"We get a lot of referrals from our existing customers and from companies that refurbish used vending equipment to sell to smaller operators," MacGregor said. "Micromarkets are growing, which is also bringing more business. C-stores and bodegas were Yell-O-Glow's main customers. We now carry a full line of vending and OCS supplies, and have picked right up where Vistar left off."

Vistar, a division of Performance Food Group and the nation's largest distributor of products to the vending channel, still operates nine Merchant's Mart stores.

Yell-O-Glow, founded in 1946, is one of the largest independent banana and plantain processors in the United States and is a full-line wholesale distributor specializing in Latin and international products, including bakery, beverage, dairy, frozen, grocery, general merchandise, seafood, meat, deli and produce. It offers nearly 5,000 items, including popular national brands and international items from Central and South America and the Caribbean.

It distributes directly to customers throughout New England, including wholesale distributors, supermarkets, grocery stores, and bodegas, along with operating its Chelsea, MA, wholesale warehouse outlet.

Yell-O-Glow's cash-and-carry store is located at 21 Arlington St., Chelsea, MA. MacGregor can be reached at (617) 394-0300, ext. 371.

 VENDING FRIENDLY: Yell-O-Glow brought in 500-plus new SKUs at its Chelsea, MA, cash-and-carry operation to serve vending operators, along with the grocery stores and restaurants that had been its core customer base. Leading the charge as manager of the new vending division is Vistar Merchant Mart veteran Charlie MacGregor.