A longtime Springfield vending business is planning a significant expansion after its owners said they’ve had the best growth in the company’s history over the past five years.
Sheehan Brothers Vending recently purchased about two acres of land from a neighboring business, and is planning to kick off an expansion of their current facility as early as next spring, said Dan Sheehan, the company’s vice president. Details of the expansion, including its cost, are still being determined, he said. But he said the company will likely build a roughly 10,000 to 12,000 square-foot addition to their current facility at 1740 Commerce Road in Springfield.
“If we keep growing at the pace are are, I wouldn’t be able to operate in this building in a couple years,” Sheehan said of the current site.
The expansion will allow the company to build a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen, including a bakery, where employees will store products and assemble food products. Sheehan Brothers’ current commercial kitchen was built in 1978. Moving those operations into a new facility will provide space in the existing building for offices, storage and product displays, he said.
Sheehan Brothers has about 85 employees and has added more than 30 workers in the past three years, Sheehan said. The expansion will likely mean additional hiring although it’s still too early to say how many new people will be needed.
“As we continue to grow, the people will automatically grow along with that,” he said.
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Sheehan Brothers started in 1956 when Dan Sheehan’s father and uncle started a side business filling gumball machines in grocery stores and gas stations. That business expanded into a full-time vending and catering operation that now serves clients in about 20 counties. Dan’s sons, Patrick and Michael, are preparing to lead the business into a third generation.
Much of the company’s grown has focused on micromarket vending and the company’s coffee service, Sheehan said. In micromarket vending, the company can set up space similar to a small convenience store in locations like hospitals and offices. The concept uses the honor system and employees can simply grab items like sandwiches and drinks. They pay with cash or credit so no cashier is on site, although cameras monitor the area in case a customer doesn’t pay for an item.
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“Theft is higher in that environment than vending, but profits are also higher because we charge more,” Sheehan said.
He said the company has also seen growth in its coffee service business. Sheehan Brothers used to offer coffee products to its customers as an add-on service. But the company decided to take that service more seriously about 15 years ago and has recently been able to attract several large clients.
Sheehan said he worked with Sunny Dhingra of Always Sunny Realty, LLC to identify possible locations for the expansion. The property settled on was owned by Roger Storer, president of Roger Storer and Son Plumbing and Heating.
Storer said he had purchased that property several years ago with plans to expand his business, but instead expanded on a separate piece of land. Storer said he was glad the deal will allow another locally-owned company to grow.
“It’s a good place to raise a family and it’s a good place to start a business,” Storer said of Springfield.
Sheehan said the company’s expansion should be complete by the end of next year. The purchase will allow for additional growth if needed in the future, he said.
“Our growth in the last five years has been the largest we’ve had in the history of our company,” Sheehan said.