Today’s state-of-the-art vending equipment offers exceptional product quality, variety, and reliability. For an entrepreneur who knows what he’s doing, the new equipment offers a better opportunity than at any time in the industry’s history.
Andy Kartiganer has been involved with vending from childhood; his father operated a vending business in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. While Kartiganer’s career has taken many twists and turns over the years, he eventually returned to his roots and is deeply committed to vending.
In 2000, he launched his second vending business, Professional Vending Services Inc. in Deerfield Beach, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. He is more optimistic then ever about the future of vending.
The company, now in its seventh year, offers full-service vending, coffee service, water coolers and paper goods, and has experienced double digit growth every year.
The caveat, as stated above, is that Kartiganer knows what he’s doing. Having recently turned 50, he brought an extensive business background to refreshment services, and he has made his share of mistakes. “I have learned through the school of hard knocks,” he said. “If there’s a mistake to make, I’ve made it.” Everything he has done has honed his expertise and commitment to refreshment services.
With three and a half routes, the company has carved a niche for itself in the Fort Lauderdale market, focusing mainly on automobile dealerships. Most of the locations are equipped with snack and soda machines, single-cup coffee brewers and point-of-use water coolers.
Spend time with Kartiganer, and his enthusiasm for his business spills forth. He is personable, articulate, and a compulsive story teller. Being a total “people” person, it’s easy to see he’s comfortable managing people and selling his service.
A long path to vending
While his father was successful in vending, Kartiganer wasn’t always sold on vending as a career. He earned a business management degree at Farleigh Dickinson University in Rutherford, N.J., after which he took a series of management jobs in several industries. After a few years, he went to work as director of operations for a restaurant franchisor, All American Hero.
Kartiganer spent four years opening All American Hero sandwich shops in shopping malls throughout the U.S. in the mid 1980s. Then he got the urge to own his own business, and bought three restaurants in shopping mall food courts.
Kartiganer found that being a business owner was a lot different than being an employee, and he found himself challenged managing finances. He sold the restaurants to relieve himself of debt.
First vending business: bulk vending
His exposure to shopping malls familiarized him with an up and coming business: giant bulk vending machines, which were being placed in shopping malls. He decided to try the bulk vending business.
Working by himself, Kartiganer placed giant gumball machines in supermarkets, game rooms, and eventually highway rest stops. This was a lucrative business, but very competitive. Bulk vending is highly commission driven and many customers do not place a premium on good service. When someone unexpectedly offered to buy the business three years after he started it, Kartiganer sold it.
Remembering his father’s success in full-line vending, Kartiganer decided to give it a try. He purchased two locations – a car dealership and a detention center – from an operator in South Florida.
His initial luck was good; the car dealership quickly opened three new locations and the detention center asked him to service a “canteen,” a retail shop where inmates purchase consumable goods using credit vouchers. The detention center also opened additional locations.
An auspicious beginning in full line vending
The early 1990s was also a good time to be getting started in a service business in South Florida. The area was growing rapidly. Kartiganer was able to find locations for snack and soda machines without too much difficulty. He knew the importance of providing good service from his father and from his own business experience.