Posted in Kafevend Blog

The demise of the village shop seems to be a sad fact of village life. It makes life particularly difficult for those who don't drive and live in a village with a sporadic or non-existent bus service to boot. And how often do you just need to pop out simply to get some more milk or an item you forgot to add to your shopping list? Some may moan and groan at the situation, while others will work to come up with a solution. You may have heard in recent weeks about electrical engineer, Peter Fox, who solved the problem for an entire village community.

50 year old Peter Fox who lives in Ashbourne, Derbyshire felt concerned for the nearby villagers of Clifton whose village shop closed down some fourteen years ago when the proprietors retired. A few years ago it occurred to him that while the overheads connected with running an actual shop made it unlikely that another would open, something akin to a giant grocery vending machine would be just the ticket. Unable to find a manufacturer willing to take on the challenge, he decided to turn the idea into reality himself and after two and a half years of designing, building and honing such a machine, it's now up and running in the car park of the village pub.

The machine sells a range of over eighty products such as bread, milk, eggs, teabags and baked beans. The selected product is pushed onto a collection unit, which gently transports it down to an opening hatch and it's the development of the collection unit which means that the vending machine can cope with delicate items like eggs. Peter is notified of stock levels by e-mail and customers can pay for items by either card or cash. It is hoped that the village shop vending machine can be rolled out to other shopless villages. After all those distinctly odd vending machines we looked at a few weeks back, it's nice to find one that's of daily practical use to a whole community!

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