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Convenience store gets new meaning

The Get & Go Express was formed so customers can make purchases without going inside.

By JODIE TILLMAN
Published August 26, 2006


HUDSON - Jeff Parsons noticed a funny thing about our pay-at-the-pump lifestyle: Now, we don't want to go inside the gas station for much of anything.

Who wants to go inside for a Coke, he reasoned, only to get stuck behind a guy buying lottery tickets or weighing cigarette brands?

And so an idea was born: Get & Go Express, a set of snack and drink vending machines set up in shopping center parking lots. Customers drive up to the kiosk, make their purchases and leave.

Get & Go Express, which opened its first franchise in the Hudson Square strip mall on Thursday, "is more than a group of vending machines," says company literature. "It's a destination for variety, convenience and low prices."

The Illinois company has a handful of the centers in that state, and is also hoping to open two more in New Port Richey. Palm Harbor resident John Howie is the franchise owner in Hudson.

Parsons, the company president who found Hudson through family he has here, said, "there couldn't be a better place to launch this franchise than sunny Florida."

The 16 machines in Hudson offer such items as 90-cent BigTexas cinnamon rolls, $2.50 bottled Starbucks frappuccino and packets of Goody's. One machine will also sell fresh sandwiches made by Best of Philly in Hudson.

The kiosk shares a strip mall with a Citgo gas station, but Parsons said he's betting thirsty and hungry people would rather drive up to a vending machine that have to go inside a store.

After all, his company says in a news release, "fast and FASTER is an inherent part of capitalism and the American character."

Jodie Tillman can be reached at (727) 869-6247 or jtillman@sptimes.com.

[Last modified August 26, 2006, 06:28:40]


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