A Tailor Made Variety Of Snacks

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - January 25, 2006
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Gary and Vikki Ferstler offer both 'health' and 'conventional' snacks in their vending machines
Gary and Vikki Ferstler offer both ‘health’ and
‘conventional’ snacks in their vending machines

Gary and Vikki Ferstler resolve to make the world a healthier place - or at least offer healthier options in their vending machines.

Their 11-year-old company, Tailor Made Vending, has more than 140 vending machines offering coffee, ice cream, sandwiches and snacks.

“We still get excited when we get new accounts,” Gary says.

The recent trend toward providing healthy snacks at some local schools had its start at the Windward YMCA. The Y wanted to offer both healthy and conventional snacks. It was from that point on that the Ferstlers had an inkling that they may have created a new market.

Kamehameha Schools decided it wanted only healthy choices in its vending machines, and the company had to work with the school’s registered dietician to approve the healthy snacks. Kamehameha Schools has four machines in the halls where children can choose from items such as Tiger Bars, water, Gatorade, juices, yogurt, smoothie drinks, trail mix and Juicy Juice.

“While I’m filling up the machines, I can hear the students discussing what they’ll get from the machines,” he says. “Students are so aware of what healthier options are. I feel so good about providing these to the kids.”

Childhood obesity is in the news so much these days, note the Ferstlers, and that could be one reason schools are more interested in taking action. Punahou School is another client that has chosen to offer healthy snacks in its vending machines. Kaiser opted to offer a combination of healthy snacks and conventional items such as Snickers and M&Ms.

Healthy eating is something that Gary lives by. The Pennsylvania native is a championship power lifter who can squat more than 600 pounds, bench 350, and deadlift 700. He retired from the Navy as a master chief, and these days he has been using his muscles to lift, load and install heavy snack machines. Vikki, who was previously a property manager, and a bed and breakfast owner in Kailua, is originally from Chicago.

They credit the work of their employees and do their best to treat them well by providing an employee-training lunch on Fridays. If an employee is sick or on vacation, the couple takes over those duties.

They recently moved the business from its Kalihi warehouse to a new space in Aiea.

“We noticed there weren’t that many places to eat there, so we have put up some of our vending machines with sandwiches,” says Vikki. “And we’ve already got regular customers.”

For more information, call 484-VEND (8363) or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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