Two years ago, he developed 17-inch video screen and player that was placed at the point of purchase of a vending machine. He placed these devices in 22 machines and loaded them with commercials he downloaded from Internet Websites.
He ran commercials for the NCAA Final Four competition in 2007, for which Coke was a sponsor. “It was part of the spirit of Atlanta being the major sponsor, and we supported the brand,” Wilbourn said. “It was a way to welcome people to Atlanta.”
“I wanted to show Coke what I could do,” he said.
He found it difficult to maintain fresh content and he also encountered some copyright issues. That experiment lasted four months.
Wilbourn has since been exploring the SPIO Media Network, a device that dispenses coupons in vending machines. The SPIO system, which has been shown at vending trade shows, is a natural for a vending operator who happens to own restaurants. “I can bounce them back to Popeye’s and Checkers,” Wilbourn said.
Wilbourn has also explored the KRh Thermal Systems machines, which he thought might find a home in the airport’s baggage claim area. He reasoned it would take four years to recover his investment.
Coca-Cola Co. is keeping a close eye on the cashless initiative at the Atlanta airport, noted John Turner, group director of on-premise business and development for the company. “Treating venders like retail stores is a cultural shift that has to happen in vending,” said Turner. “Mack, being a retailer more than an operator in the trade is evident in how he operates. I applaud Mack. He’s brilliant by applying technology to the business.
“It’s a great way to create a new consumer experience with vending.”
Profile: MJW Vending
Headquarters Location: Atlanta, Ga.
Owner: Mack Wilbourn
Number of Machines: 54
Number of Vending Employees: 15
Number of Accounts: 1
Main Software Supplier: Isochron Inc.
Main Bill Validator Supplier: MEI
Wireless Network Provider: Sierra Wireless
Annual Sales: Not revealed