Just What You Always Wanted: Health Food Vending Machines in City Parks
Six months ago, Peter Stone was working for Apple in Manhattan when he decided, somewhat randomly, to move to Dallas. "He liked the idea that he could golf and play tennis year-round without the mounds of snow and icy winds of New York City.
Soon, you may see something like this at your local park.
"I came here, and it is so bloody hot here. I was playing tennis and I happened to run out of water halfway through," Stone said. He was getting badly sunburned, too. The water from the public fountain was warm and tasted terrible, but there was no other option. It was a sharp contrast to parks in New York, where vending machines and nearby shops were laden with healthy beverages and snacks.
So he did what any young former Apple employee would do: He formed a business, Elite Vendors, and lobbied the City Council to contract with his company to put vending machines in city parks. But if you're expecting Skittles and Dr Pepper, put away your quarters.
Mine's going to be totally different," he says. "More like Whole Foods" but stuffed into a rectangular metal box.
These machines will sell water of course, but also refrigerated health food, health drinks, sports equipment, and packaged dog treats. He has a few locations already scouted out, like the Katy Trail, Cole Park, and a handful of others.
He pitched the idea to the council a few months ago and found them receptive. He has since been wading through city bureaucracy, working with city staff to tweak a couple of rules to allow the venture. When I spoke to him Wednesday, he had just notarized paperwork to submit to the city as part of the bid process.
City spokesman Frank Librio confirmed Stone's proposal is being worked on, but the Parks Department employee in charge is out until next week, so it'll be a bit before we can get a definite timeline.