Richard Martin Shares Four Things He Learned Launching Micro Markets

Sept. 8, 2017
“I feel 18 again” – Richard Martin, CEO Snack Time Vending

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Richard Martin was riding a wave of success in the vending industry. Then Sept. 11, 2001 happened and the former New York vending operator lost half of his business when his largest client pulled out of vending service.

Four years later, in 2005, Martin moved the entire vending business from New York to North Carolina – a region in which he was already offering vending services. Since that time he and his staff have worked hard to grow Snack Time Vending, but for the first time in more than a decade, Martin is excited about the future of the industry and his company all because of one concept: the micro market.

On March 2, 2017, Snack Time Vending opened its first micro market with 365 Retail Markets and has since that time grown to operate eight markets in the Charlotte, N.C., area. “It’s a slow move, but I want to understand the market better,” says Martin. “I am cautiously optimistic to make sure I have the right people and growth in place.” But that doesn’t mean Martin is cautiously optimistic about micro markets. In fact, Martin is ecstatic about the micro market concept. “I feel 18 again,” he said excitedly. Martin, for the first time in a long time, is hopeful to grow his business to the same level of success he saw pre-9/11, all thanks to micro markets.

Though it took some self-convincing to invest in the micro market concept, Martin isn’t looking back. As a semi-new micro market operator, he shared his top four lessons in getting in the game, the mistakes made and the opportunity ahead:

Lesson #1: Trust everybody as a customer

Martin says one of the biggest things he has learned is to trust the customer. “It allows you a comfort zone with them with them,” he said. “My cameras did not go up for the first 30 days the market was set. I wanted them to trust me and I wanted to trust them.”

Lesson #2: There will be people who will test that trust

The second lesson is that there will be those people who break that trust. “You inevitably will catch those people who steal,” said Martin. In those instances, Martin will use video footage to find the thief and take the next steps.

Lesson #3: Micro markets bring untapped potential

Micro markets, said Martin, can provide an uncapped potential if an operation has the right team in place, monitoring the movement of product. “You can make exponentially 20 to 30 percent more money than any vending machine could ever make,” he noted.

Lesson #4: Hesitation is missed opportunity

Martin says that the biggest mistake he has made when it comes to micro markets so far is that he wished he had gotten into the business sooner. “I lost opportunities,” he said. “I should have jumped earlier.” It’s a lesson Martin learned, but a decision he is glad he eventually made.

Martin’s advice for other operators looking at micro markets is simple. “Do your research and make sure it’s something you want to get into. If you’re getting into micro markets, you’re not phasing yourself out, you’re either re-growing your business or setting yourself up to sell.”


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Product Guide

365 Retail Markets

July 16, 2012
365 Retail Markets is the global leader of self-service convenience technologies and strategic partnerships with foodservice operators worldwide. 365's combination of micro market...