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Key-making kiosks catching on

BY Brae Canlen

Replacing a trained employee with a machine that can automatically duplicate keys may be part of retail’s future, according to an article in the Denver Business Journal.

MinuteKey Inc., a company headquartered in Boulder, Colo., is now deploying its automated key-copying vending machine. The three-year-old firm, which has attracted $10.6 million in private equity funding so far, has placed 100 MinuteKey machines in 15 states, mostly in big-box stores. Lowe’s and Walmart are among the retailers hosting the units.

MinuteKey machines make house and office keys and only accept payments in the form of credit and debit cards. Revenues are shared with the retailers.

CEO Randall Fagundo – who founded, and then sold, the chain of coin-operated games that grab plush toys with a metal claw — said he expects to hire another 20 software developers and other employees to keep up with company growth over the next six months. His goal is to ultimately have 20,000 MinuteKey machines throughout the United States.

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S.blumenthal says:
Oct-05-2011 07:54 pm

I believe who ever thought of
I believe who ever thought of a kiosk for making keys isn't much of a locksmith. Yes there are a number of common keys, your schlage, arrow, kwikset, segal. After that there is such a large variety of keys that even locksmiths sometimes have trouble finding the proper blank. Then there are keys that are stamped 'do not duplicate'. The most complaints I hear in the stores regarding keys not working are from consumers having keys made in the big stores because of the lack of training.

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Former Home Depot exec joins facilities firm

BY HBSDealer Staff

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, former Home Depot executive Matthew Pitts has joined SMS Assist as chief operating officer. 

At Atlanta-based Home Depot, Pitts was VP building services and had worked at the retailer for about 20 years. SMS is a facilities maintenance company based in Chicago. It serves about 24,000 locations.

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Gift cards going mobile

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A survey conducted in September at the annual Shop.org Retail Summit in Boston showed that that almost half of all retailers surveyed planned to offer eGifting this holiday season, and 44% were looking at location-based deals as a key element of their mobile marketing strategy. 

The survey, sponsored by CashStar, found a growing number of concerns among retailers about the lack of personalization of gift cards. 

“As consumers increasingly turn to their smartphones, retailers need to adapt and look at how gift cards and location-based deals can complement each other," said David Stone, CEO of CashStar.

Of those retailers surveyed, 72% planned to increase their mobile marketing spend this year, with 6% planning to increase it significantly. Only 2% of survey respondents planned to decrease their mobile marketing spend. When it comes to mobile marketing, mobile coupons were the most popular offering (64%) followed by location-based deals (44%). 

Retailers are planning to promote to the last minute — 42% of those surveyed plan to stop holiday promotions on the last day consumers can ship an item and have it arrive in time for Christmas, but 32% plan to continue their promotions to Christmas Eve.

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