Make the most of a Lemon: Evervend

As the old saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. The same holds true for vending. There are quite a few old, battered, outdated machines out there with a myriad of unique problems they pose to any vendor who uses them. In these “Lemon” guides, I intend to help anyone using the target machine make the most of their investment, and keep going where others might not be able to.

Today’s machine is the Evervend EV-100 Triple Tower. The “Evervend machine” is actually only one model made by the now-defunct Evervend company. Though less common, Evervend also made a few other machines before their Biz-Op company fell apart sometime in the late 1980’s. The machines were sold to operators in large numbers during the Biz-Op vending boom that really took off in the 80’s and early 90’s, and are like most triple machines sold during this period.

The machine itself is made of delrin plastic, but incorporates an unusual number of metal components- including a completely metal stand, metal coin mechanisms (allegedly based on Oak “Acorn” coin mechanisms) and in some cases vend mechanism drums. Unlike some machines that tried to look like their competition, the Evervend sticks out in a crowd. The clear front panels to view products are divided into six smaller windows, which in many cases leaves one lower window to view the product, and one upper window to be covered by a label. The spill tray is molded with the body, and cannot be removed. The machine has two cabinet locks to secure the back sliding door (similar to the one used on the UltraVend Vend3) and one to secure a sliding lid. The locks are mounted on the right side of the machine, which is either really convenient, or really annoying depending on the location.

Like the UltraVend, the Evervend is not a “bad” machine in any one respect, but rather by an accumulation of negative factors in it’s unusual design. It’s a striking contrast to other triples, and is fairly resilient to damage. In my experience, they’ve been very easy to place in establishments, especially those with an existing vendor, due to their unusual configuration.

However, the Evervend has many problems. To begin, the base of the stand is made of metal. This is one place where the other triples got it right. If your machine is near the entryway of an establishment that gets precipitation on a regular basis (rain, snow,etc) a little bit of that water will get under the stand, and form a dreaded “rust ring” on the floor in no time. Paint can slow it down, and some guys have bought or built other rubber rings and water dispersant methods to keep the bases from rusting. However, in a market full of machines that don’t have this problem, it’s not worth the effort going in like this.

Next, the Evervend has some fragile components. The spill tray has been a serious issue for me, as troublemakers keep breaking it off. As I said, it’s molded rather flimsily onto the machine- and a good smack is all it takes for the tray to snap off, leaving a dangerous jagged edge behind it. I have had my tray vandalized twice, and I have repaired it each time with what I had on hand- Gorilla glue, of all things, and it has worked wonderfully. However, it’s only a matter of time before someone bumps into it and breaks it, or smashes it off again, so that’s an added expense in the long run. Taking the tray off and sanding down the spot where it was is an option, but I haven’t the time to break down and modify machines like this.

Next, vending mechanisms. These are even stranger than the ones used in the UltraVend- they are “barrel” style mechanisms, but they roll towards the front, rather than to the side. The wheels are adjustable, but must be completely removed from the machine (not easy), taken apart, and then reset one compartment at a time. This is time consuming work, and requires the machine be taken completely off-line to do. If need be, I can drain, adjust, and reload a metal triple on location, and other machines I can swap the heads on to change products, but not the Evervend. In that regard, it’s better than the UltraVend’s one-size portion system, but not by very much.

Finally, on this lengthy list of problems, are the coin mechanisms. Sadly, just because they are made of metal, and allegedly based on the legendary Oak “Acorn” style mechanisms, does not mean they are good. I have had lots of problems with jammed coins, which requires- you guessed it- the whole machine has to be opened up and partially dissembled to correct. In order to do this, you have to open the back, and then carefully remove the mounting screws (which are easy to confuse with the screws holding the vend drums in place, and will make a huge mess if you don’t get it right) and then remove the coin mechanism from the machine. Be careful not to touch the vend drum- or you will knock it out of alignment, and you’ll be giving away free candy if it resets improperly. Remove the offending object (typically dimes) and then reverse the process. So, when servicing, allot at least 20 minutes in for each Evervend on your route in the off-chance you will need to dismantle it on site. A long-handle flathead screwdriver is also a good investment.

Unlike the UltraVend, I don’t have any modification tips that can help you. The way the machine is designed makes any modifications difficult to impossible. At one time, a few vendors and I tried to make an Evervend machine vend 850 count gumballs, and we had no successes in that effort. I’m sorry I don’t have anything useful to share in that regard.

I believe that the Evervend’s relationship to vending is very much like the Futuro houses were to real-estate. They were cool looking, sold for high prices, and then faded away as support vanished. Though the Evervend still works well-enough as a triple, with so many machines doing the same job better, and in many cases for less money (like the Vendstar and UltraVend) I cannot see a reason to build a route with these. The one benefit that Evervends have over other machines is that unique style to them- they are a great way to get into the door in some spots. However, I’m afraid that the best door for these machines to disappear behind are those of private collectors looking for an unusual looking machine for their collection.

If you have a “Bad” machine that needs some help to get back out there making money, you might try the where the professionals can help you make the most of your “lemon”.

As always, good luck!

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