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Farm boy digs up tasty business idea (2)

By Ma Lie  (China Daily)

10:25, June 08, 2012

They started with eight vending machines, each based in a different residential community.

"The choice of placement for each vending machine is crucial," Wang said, "and our previous expertise in selling vegetables helps."

People typically rely on venders or supermarkets close to their homes for vegetables, Wang explained.

"But venders tend to close before most office workers are off work, and supermarkets are open until late but usually have higher prices," Wang said. "It leaves us a niche market to provide people who are busy at work with reasonably priced, fresh vegetables anytime within walking distance."

Wang and his partners chose residential communities with relatively better-off and busier white-collar employees.

Each machine maintains a temperature between -2 C and 8 C to preserve the freshness of the vegetables, which come directly from their production base and are available at a price competitive with supermarkets.

The idea has proved a success. In March, they installed another two vending machines in two new communities.

"Each of the new machines witnessed a 10 percent increase in business in May," said Liu Shaofeng, 41, one of Wang's partners and now manager of the company.

Zhou Hui, 38, who lives in a residential community, said she was glad to have the company's vending machine on the first floor of her building.

"My husband and I are both very busy with work. Thanks to the vending machine, now I can get fresh vegetables after work," Zhou told China Daily. "It is just located downstairs. And unlike vendors selling vegetables that usually leave garbage behind, it is clean."

For Wang, who also fills the machines with fresh vegetables, the better business is, the busier he is - and he is happy about that.

"I'm glad to be back selling vegetables, now 24 hours a day," he said.

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