Enterprise Inns tenants Andrew and Lorraine Garside of the Cock Inn at Clifton launched the vending machine, created by a local electrical engineer, last month as an easier alternative to opening a village shop in the pub. It stocks more than 80 products including baked beans, toilet roll, locally produced milk, eggs and bread as well as shower gel, cereal and tea, and it has helped increase trade in the pub.
Lorraine said: “Our village had a shop for 104 years but it closed in 1999 and it’s quite a way to the nearest town. Our village has a pub, a village hall and a cricket team but a shop just wasn’t viable to run. We looked at opening one as part of the pub but staffing would have been a problem, so this seemed like a great alternative.
“Lots of local people have been using it and others have been driving up just to see it and they’ve been stopping in for a drink while they’re here. It’s become a bit of a tourist destination!”
Enterprise divisional director Chris Jones said: “We’re delighted that Andrew and Lorraine have had such success with the vending machine. They are a very entrepreneurial couple who have run a successful pub business for many years. We congratulate them for being the first in the country to trial the innovative machines which has helped to make their pub even more of a community hub.”
Local designer Peter Fox, MD of Villagevending, started his company in 2011 in the hope of bucking the trend for the demise of small village shops. Unable to find an automated retailing solution on this scale, he designed his own machine at his manufacturing facility in Derbyshire.
He said he believes it is the only one of its kind and hopes to introduce the machines in nearby villages and across the country at a later stage.