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Vending Machines impacted by COVID-19

Published: Mar. 25, 2021 at 6:27 AM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Vending machines have been less popular during the pandemic.

While people are still pushing the buttons and getting their favorite snacks, fewer people are in offices, which means companies are not making as much money.

“Our sales went down about 30%, which is pretty substantial, said Chuck McMath, the owner at M&M sales company.

McMath has been in the vending machine industry for the last 40 years, co-owning M&M sales company with his wife.

He says when COVID-19 began, many people refrained from using the machines due to fears of contracting the virus.

“A big deal was the touch service, the touching of machines, and we had people that would not allow machines to be used,” he said.

Another problem they saw?

“They took the spray and sprayed the front of the machines to wipe them down, and what that did was it fried the boards for the keypads on all of our machines.”

He says the biggest problem they faced was the closure of nursing homes, schools, and offices, and with no foot traffic in those areas, people were not buying products.

“We had over 4,000 vending machines on location and 35 micro-markets,” he said. “We’re probably down to about 3,200 machines now.”

With no one buying these goods, many of the products went bad.

“We threw away 1000s and 1000s of dollars of product,” he added.

Distributing out of Lake Charles, Lafayette, and Houma, the recent hurricanes also put a strain on their already impacted business.

“We lost probably 30 to 40 machines because of the hurricanes,” he said.

But as vaccine distribution starts to become more widespread, and more places reopen, McMath says they are starting to see an increase in sales.

“We’re increasing every week, you know, places are opening back up, we’re getting access into more locations, you know, people are bringing back a percentage of their employees,” he said.

Vending machines getting back to work as we head back to our offices.

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