Roger Williams Shares His Vending Memories

Coinadrink has been in business for 55 years and to mark this magical milestone, MD and Founder Roger Williams agreed to go in front of the cameras to share some of his memories. We cut them into bite-size segments: you can watch them in any order. Enjoy!

Foreword, by Roger Williams

When we opened for business, Harold Macmillan was PM and according to him, ‘we’d never had it so good’. I suppose he had a point: inflation was low, at just 1.1% and pretty much everybody was in work. The average price of a house was £2,670 – although such a sum would have bought you something pretty impressive in Walsall – and the average wage was £799 a year. A pint of milk cost 1/4d (that’s 6.5p in ‘new’ money!) and a pint in the pub would set you back 2/4d, (11.5p).

The best selling record of the year was Frank Ifield, yodelling ‘I Remember You.’ It was September before anybody had heard of a group of scruffs from Liverpool calling themselves ‘The Beatles’.

And, whilst all of that was going on, we began to build our business…

One: The Foundation of Coinadrink

… in which Roger recalls his years as a Craft Apprentice and a life-changing invitation to experience the city that was at the leading edge of sixties’ vending: New York.

Two: The Early Years

… in which Roger remembers some of his first customers – and if you’ve ever wondered why we have strong business connections with The Potteries, the answer’s here.

Three: The First Drinks Vending Machines

… in which Roger remembers the good bits – and the not so good – about the electro-mechanical vending machines that heralded the modern era.

Four: The Evolution of Drinks Vending

… in which Rogers considers how Digital Selection caused huge improvements in vending and how micro-processors changed the business forever.

Five: People: Our Greatest Asset

… in which Roger recalls colleagues past and present and speaks fondly about the company’s ‘Long Service Dinner’ and the ‘core of people who stay with you through the good times and the not-so-good’.

Six: The Evolution of Snack and Food Vending

… in which Roger discusses how glass-fronted vending machines changed the face of snacks retailing in the early seventies.

Seven: The Growth of Coinadrink

… in which Roger tries to put his finger on what it is to stay one step ahead of the competition. From going computerised in 1972 to the introduction of Micro-Markets in 2013, it’s always been about ‘Innovation’ at Coinadrink.

Eight: Safeguarding The Future

… in which Roger affirms that, in the future, ‘we’ll be doing what we’ve been doing’, including ‘paying our staff what we can afford, not what we can get away with’ – why great service is right at the heart of our business.


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