Three new vending machines added to campusTweet
By Ashley Barker
There are now more options around the MUSC campus for snacks from a vending machine.
ANM Enterprises, LLC president and CEO Nathaniel Mercer signed a contract last year to place three fresh! Healthy Vending machines on campus – two in the Wellness Center and one in the library. Within the contact, he also has the option to expand his business to other locations.
The vending machines can offer more than 300 items, including Kettle Baked Potato Chips, Pirate’s Booty, Hansen’s strawberry soda, Brothers Fruit Crisps, Fruit 2day, Sweet Leaf Tea and bottled water. The items range in price from $1 to $3.
|Meghan Herbert, program coordinator for student services at the College of Health Professions, selects a snack from the fresh! Healthy Vending machine at the library.|
“There is going to be a niche for everybody,” Mercer said. “Some people are going to prefer Coke. Others are going to prefer something healthier to eat. My machines are often referred to as Whole Foods in a box.”
Mercer, who is a franchisee for the San Diego based company, said he joined the business because of the growing obesity problem.
“We live in a fast-paced society, and we often need food on the go. My machines provide a healthy alternative to traditional snack food,” he said. “Many times a vending machine is our quickest resource.”
Mercer also noticed that many vending machines only accept cash, and sometimes products get stuck in the machines.
Fresh! Healthy Vending machines accept credit cards and have a guaranteed delivery system in place.
“It’s very high-tech. The design of it is different,” Mercer said. “For example, if you vend a Cliff Bar but, for some reason, the coil gets jammed and it can’t fall down, there will be a computer to your right that will say, ‘Please make another selection.’ You can then select another item or request your money back.”
The built-in computer system makes it easy for Mercer to track sales in real time, allowing him to stock the machines more often and with the most popular items.
He said each location is different, but usually the most frequently purchased items at the Wellness Center are the beverages like water and Muscle Milk. At the library, bottled water and Pirate’s Booty are the most popular choices.
Mercer became a franchisee in February 2011 and went into business with Ashley Hall School, First Baptist School and Joint Base Charleston in North Charleston.
Mercer said MUSC began testing his machines on campus around that same time. His bid won, and he signed a contract with MUSC in November 2012.
Now his goal is to add an additional 15 to 20 machines in places that are convenient and requested by customers.
“It really depends on requests. I’ll put a machine where there is a demand for healthy snacks,” Mercer said.
To request a fresh! Health Vending machine, visit http://www.healthyvendingmachinescharlestonsc.com/. Roy Dingle, who handles all of the vending machine contracts at MUSC, can also take requests. He can be reached at 792-9787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.July 2, 2013