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    Convenience to the Max

    Get & Go Express offers customers "store" of vending machines.

    HUDSON, Fla. -- Get & Go founder Jeff Parsons has created a convenience store high on convenience but low on tradition. Located in shopping center parking lots, the "store" is made up of a number of vending machines that supply snacks and packaged beverages, but none of the traditional convenience merchandise like tobacco, gasoline, lottery tickets or alcoholic beverages.

    In addition, the stores are "a franchise business that doesn't need to be attended all the time. You can operate it part-time. You don't need employees for the location," Parsons said.

    Still, the company insists that it "is more than a group of vending machines." Calling its locations "a destination for variety, convenience and low prices," according to company literature, the company's slogan is "Your 24 Hour Convenience Center."

    Its newest location, in Hudson, Fla., features 16 machines that offer customers items such as 90-cent cinnamon rolls, $1 DVD rentals, 25-cent sodas, water, juice, newspapers, $2.50 bottled Starbucks beverages and even has a machine that sells fresh sandwiches made by a local business, reported the St. Petersburg Times.

    The new store shares a shopping center with a CITGO gas station, but Parsons believes that customers will come to his location for its added convenience, and expects customers to visit by the hundreds each day. "Our concept is simple," Parsons said. "We're offering a product people are familiar with in an easy-to-use format."

    Two more stores are planned for Florida, in the New Port Richey area, reported the Times. Get & Go Expresses have already been introduced in a few places in the company's home state of Illinois with success. "When you talk about margins, right now across the board, we're running at 60 to 62 percent profit margins," Parsons told Selfservice.org.

    Current franchisee James Gray told Selfservice.org that the 300 square foot, 10 machine store he operates is "very well-received."

    As the Hudson store opens, Parsons is finalizing an agreement for an additional 24 stores, according to the Times report. In the meantime, he is visiting tradeshows for new products and considering age-verification strategies. "Thumbprint verification through MasterCard or Visa will most likely allow us to sell age-restricted items," Parsons told the newspaper. "And we're talking to states about selling lottery tickets."

    For people interested in owning a Get & Go franchise, the company will arrange all necessary permits, zoning requirements, suppliers and help in the site selection. The cost to build is approximately $150,000 and only requires 500 square feet or less to operate. "I'm over-the-top excited about this concept, because we are profitable in the simplest form," Parsons told Selfservice.org.

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