Students, faculty and staff purchasing a snack or beverage from a vending machine this week will notice some big changes. The old drink machines on campus have been replaced with 30 new glass-front machines, and the snack machines have been removed.
ACU originally had separate drink and snack contracts with AB Tex Beverage Corp. The snack machines were removed after Pepsi Bottling Co. bought out AB Tex last year and the company was no longer in the food business, Pepsi’s regional sales manager Shannon Wilcox said.
“The removal of the machines was mutually agreed upon,” Wilcox said. “We came and picked them up.”
ACU signed a 10-year deal with Pepsi in 2002 that gave the drink company exclusive rights to beverages on campus. The deal runs through spring 2012. Wilcox said Pepsi’s relationship with ACU remains strong, and he hopes to sign a new contract with the university when the current contract expires.
“We have a great relationship with ACU,” Wilcox said. “ACU is one of our biggest vending companies in Abilene, and they are great people to deal with.”
Pepsi paid for the new beverage dispensers and finished replacing them last week. The new machines offer traditional soft drinks and water, as well as specialty drinks like coffee and energy drinks as well.
“You have more options. These machines are high tech and energy efficient, plus they have better variety,” Wilcox said. “College kids don’t just want a soda anymore, they want more variety.”
Anthony Williams, chief business officer for the university, oversees all retail on campus, including ACU’s contract with Pepsi. Williams said the university asked Pepsi to replace the aging equipment.
Williams said the university signed the beverage deal with Pepsi in 2002 because it believed the deal would be advantageous for ACU, and that both sides have benefited from the partnership. He said the university would examine its options in 2012, but added that a new contract with Pepsi is a possibility.
“We are a diverse account for them,” Williams said. “We will have some sort of relationship with Pepsi and make the determination if they are the best partner. We are certainly not displeased with them, but we can always improve the relationship.”