FreshBrew buys Tri-Cities Vending
Beaumont acquisition could triple sales in 18 months
Houston-based FreshBrew Vending, a subsidiary of FreshBrew Group, has acquired Beaumont’s largest vending company, Tri-Cities Vending, in an effort to begin expanding its Houston operations. All operations were transitioned to FreshBrew Vending on May 1.
“We couldn’t be more excited about taking the first steps in expanding our vending services to other markets,” said Steven Weyel, chief operations officer for FreshBrew Group. “We look forward to working with all of Tri-Cities’ employees as we enhance our operational offerings to our new client base.”
FreshBrew has invested in cutting-edge technology to ensure its vending products offer the very best services to both its clients as well as the vending end user.
“The built-in mobile communication between our drivers and home office enable us to respond to any issues within a two-hour timeframe,” said Weyel.
In addition, FreshBrew Vending offers elevated security control over its machines that includes full cash control of each location as well as cyber locks, which only enable keyed access to the machine during the designated employee’s shift hours. Any other time of day, the cyber lock restricts access to the machines.
In an interview with the Business Journal, Ali Ansari, president of FreshBrew Group, said while the security features will not necessarily make their vending machines immune to a teenager with a crowbar, the technology greatly enhances customer service and internal quality control and called the Tri-Cities acquisition a major boost for FreshBrew fortunes.
“It’s not only the immediate boost to the size and scope of our vending business that makes this acquisition so exciting for us,” he said. “We are even more excited about all the Beaumont Tri-Cities employees who are now joining our organization. With decades of combined experience in the vending industry, we see the dedication and passion each person is going to bring to our team.”
The Beaumont market offers FreshBrew Vending the opportunity to expand its services into other industries, such as refineries, additional hospital systems and potentially some casinos in Louisiana.
Despite the name, FreshBrew is no longer really in the retail coffee business per se, explained Ansari.
“We sold our office coffee division to a company called Filter Fresh, who recently got bought out by Aramark, so we’re strictly a coffee roaster and a vending company. We’re not doing coffee vending; we’re just doing snacks, drinks and frozen product,” he said, emphasizing the food quality in vending machines has greatly improved in recent years. “Now you have Kraft products; you’ve got Tombstone pizzas; you’ve got amazing brands now – they’re frozen and you just microwave them up, with a combination of ice cream and food in the machine. You get the best of both worlds.”
Ansari said the Tri-Cities acquisition will not be their first foray into business in this area.
“We’re excited to come to Beaumont. Our family used to own the Gateway Shopping Center a few years ago, so we’re very familiar with Beaumont,” he said. “We sold it right before the hurricane in 2005.”
He said FreshBrew will retain all Tri-Cities employees and none will be transferred to Houston. “We’re looking to hire more people in Beaumont as we expand our services and grow that market,” said Ansari.
FreshBrew Vending is Houston’s largest privately owned full service vending company with customers in the region’s eight-county area with what they describe as “an enterprise-wide commitment to its customers that redefines full service vending.”
— James Shannon
Business Journal editor James Shannon offers a weekly column of business news for readers of The Examiner. For more details, see the editions of the Business journal published monthly in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Greater Orange. Check out the blog at setxbiz.blogspot.com or e-mail james [at] beaumontbusinessjournal [dot] com.