Move aside, candy bars and soft drinks—there’s a new type of vending machine in town. Oscar’s Smokehouse, a family-owned, regionally known, specialty meat and cheese store in Warrensburg, has unveiled a new, refrigerated vending machine where customers can pick up their bacon, cheese, sausage, pancake mix and more with the swipe of a credit card and the push of a button, 24/7.
It all started when New York State contacted Oscar’s to sell its products in a vending machine full of locally made goods outside the state-operated welcome center on I-87 between Exits 17 and 18. “We were a little bit hesitant because we had never seen meats or anything like that in a vending machine, so we tried it and it’s actually gone very well,” says Oscar’s General Manager Jerald “Joq” Quintal. “Because of that, and because we reduced our hours—we’ve got a lot of people who come here before we’re open at 8 o’clock and after we’re closed at 5 o’clock—we figured it’d be a convenient way for people to get our products.”
The vending machine is convenient for customers who shop during regular business hours too: If the shop is busy, or if customers are still wary about going into stores due to COVID-19, they can head straight to the vending machine, where the prices are almost identical to those in the store, to avoid the crowds.
Since it’s unveiling on August 3, the machine has caused quite the stir in the community. A post to the Oscar’s Facebook page had more than 1,600 likes as of Tuesday afternoon, and Quintal says customers were already using it after hours on Monday. “I’ve already had four business owners who have said, ‘Put my name on my list when you guys start to do these throughout the Capital District—I want one outside of my business, I want one outside of my campground,'” he says.
Spreading bacon vending machines far and wide isn’t necessarily part of the plan, but Quintal says that maybe, sometime in the future, additional machines could work outside of some of the smokehouse’s large wholesalers. In the meantime, you can make the drive up to Warrensburg, or buy Oscar’s products at Lakeside Farms in Ballston Lake and Sander’s Meat Market in Ballston Spa.