Community member Gloria Garrison and her husband Bryan Garrison are owners of Community Vending owners. They spent nearly two years preparing to bring their vending and soda machines to the Two Waters Complex. The first machine Community Vending purchased was located in Casino Arizona Human Resources, which grew to Talking Stick Golf Course and then on to the Two Waters Complex.
“There was a machine out in our lobby (Casino Arizona Human Resources) and the employees did not like what was in there,” Gloria said. “Employees were complaining the items in the machine were not healthy and it was never stocked. So I asked if I could contact the vendor and look into buying the machine from him, which I did. Then I began to learn the paperwork process.”
Gloria said it wasn’t until they decided they wanted to move into Two Waters when they had to complete all the necessary paperwork with the Tribal government. She said Community Vending purchased the vending machines and had to continue with the contract process in order to stock the machines within the Two Waters Complex.
“Since we were the first to ever own a vending company, they had to put a bid process out and placed an ad in the paper to open up to everyone. They had two other submissions besides ours, but they did not turn in the whole packet and supply all the information. We got the bid and won the contract, but it took a while because it had to go to the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and they had to look at it,” Gloria said. “We had to make sure we had insurance on our truck, tell them how many machines we have, figure routes, list items being put in the machine and what the charges for the products were going to be.”
Gloria said the whole process of configuring the contract with OGC took one year. She said anyone interested in starting their own business should stick with the process because it is for the protection of the company and the Community.
Gloria said when taking over the vending machine at the golf course she heard the same complaints about the lack of products and choices within the machine.
Because the machine is only available to the laborers and their supervisors, Community Vending developed a list of items and they were able to choose which products they wanted in their machine.
“We try out different products and if it doesn’t sell and doesn’t work for us for whatever reason we eventually have to take it out and put something else in,” she said. “Anywhere we put a machine we know we have to experiment. I put in what I know does well with the machines at Casino Arizona Human Resources and Talking Stick Golf Course and we’re seeing how it works out at Two Waters. I am putting together a bigger list with a new warehouse and it has canned soda and snack stuff on there and soon we will be able to work with more items.”
One of the previous complaints about the vending machines included the lack of products available at any given time and according to Gloria Community Vending is combating this by checking the machines in Two Waters every week and stocking them approximately every two weeks.
“We do not want the machines to go completely dry, but if there are just a couple of coils empty we are not going to refill them until the machine is at least 50-percent empty,” Gloria explained.
Gloria and Bryan believe they benefited greatly from the classes they participated in at Salt River Financial Services Institution.
“They gave us a binder with all of these lessons in there that led us to developing and writing our business plan,” she explained. “Without the classes we would have never been able to find something specific on how to write a business plan for vending machines or would have had to pay someone to develop it for us. It opened our eyes to everything and we are grateful we had the support.”