New pop vendor picked

by Jim Boyle


While students are away on summer break, the Elk River Area School District will swap vending machines with new ones from Bernick’s Vending out of St. Cloud.

The core prices and products will remain mostly the same, but the school district will command a larger commission and the machines will be a little more stylish, according to Greg Hein, the Elk River Area School District’s director of business services.

Twenty-ounce bottles of cola will, however, go from $1.50 to $1.75, he said. The school district will get 35 percent of those sales compared to the agreement it had with the previous vendor (Midwest Vending) for 28 percent.

The district will get a 25 percent commission on chips, candy and healthy treats compared to 23 percent in the past.

Bernick’s was one of three firms to bid on the contract. The district based one-fourth of its decision on commissions and another one-fourth on pricing. There were six other factors considered, ranging from commitment to partner with the district on the plan to affect snack and beverage consumption to quality and content of the proposal.

The Elk River Area School Board approved the recommendation to go with Bernick’s on Monday for a two-year contract with potential for a two-year renewal. The plan is to swap machines out by July 1. Eventually, Bernick’s plans to customize the fronts of their machines as part of the contract. One school might choose  to have its mascot and school colors on it, where another might choose to have a photographic scenes as the backdrop.

Hein also cautioned cola drinkers from getting nervous, thinking Bernick’s is solely a Pepsi distributor.

“Not to worry,” he said. “There will be at least one (vending machine) in every building with Coke and Diet Coke products. We know people are fiercely loyal to their choice of cola.”