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Caviar Vending Machines Pop Up at LA Malls
You may have seen the "duty free"-style vending machines at top airports that sell such high-end goods as MP3 players and tablet computers? Los Angeles entrepreneur Kelly Stern has brought that idea to its next step in three LA shopping malls (Westfield Century City, Westfield Topanga, and Burbank Town Center) where you can now purchase truffles, escargot, and tiny mother of pearl spoons for the machines' main offering, luxurious tins of pure caviar.
Excerpt: "The project is the brainchild of Kelly Stern, who co-owns Beverly Hills Caviar – a gourmet food supplier located in the tony California community.
The business plan: Reach customers in wealthy neighborhoods surrounding the malls who may not have convenient access to caviar and expose everyday shoppers to the delicacy, especially younger ones.
'All my friends and family knew about this for a year-and-a-half and no one wanted to tell me that I was crazy, but I could see it in their eyes,' Stern said. 'I did not know what was going to happen when people saw it.'
Stern shopped around the world to find the right kind of vending machine – it had to keep the caviar cold, have a touch screen, an Internet connection and an attractive display for its gourmet contents. It also had to accept credit cards as well as cash.She ended up buying parts from seven different countries and putting everything together in Los Angeles. Each machine costs about $85,000 – including hardware, software, security and maintenance – and has about $50,000 worth of inventory inside. The caviar is sold in jars and stays fresh for about a year."
Note: Hunter Communications handles marketing at the Burbank Town Center, home to Beverly Hills Caviar vending machines