Shop24 Bringing Convenience to Oil Patch

Two automated units up and running in North Dakota

WILLISTON, N.D. -- The Fox Run RV Park near Williston, N.D., has became home to the latest Shop 24 automated convenience store, reported The Dickinson Press. The large vending machine sells everything from milk to laundry detergent to frozen pizza rolls.

The shops, which have been installed on college campuses, at businesses and at transportation hubs in several locations around the country, is new to North Dakota and the first to be placed at an RV park, said the report.

A second Shop24 is located near Watford City, N.D., at the Blue Sky Lodge crew camp.

The machines aim to bring c-store items to temporary housing residents in North Dakota's Oil Patch who are often miles away from a store, Rob Lindberg, president of LaVenture Logistics, which owns and operates the two stores, told the newspaper.

"If you're out of Tide, you don't want to drive all the way to Walmart just to do your clothes," heg said. "If you forgot an item, we're kind of the local help."

The response to the two shops has been strong, according to Lindberg. Soda, iced tea and other beverages are the strongest sellers, but other items such as used DVDs also have been popular, he added.

The shops accept cash or credit cards and can sell anything that weighs between 1 ounce and 10 pounds. The exact items will vary depending on demand, but examples of other things sold in Williston are shampoo, ready-to-eat pork chops, headphones, Pepto Bismol and paper towels.

Some prices are higher than a typical c-store. For example, a 20-ounce soda costs $2.14. But a footlong sandwich sells for $5.24, likely one of the cheapest options in the area, Lindberg said.

Harold Cushman, who lives at the RV park and does maintenance, said he is responsible for selling the shop out of sweet tea. But he's not the only customer.

"This thing's pretty busy, actually," Cushman told the paper.

Lindberg said the company is talking to other housing providers and is considering other locations in North Dakota.

Westerville, Ohio-based Shop24 Global LLC offers a self-contained, totally automated and refrigerated convenience store designed to enable 24/7 accessible consumer purchasing in a well-lit, security camera-monitored environment. A Shop24 can be placed outdoors or indoors.

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