One of the largest privately-owned vending operators in the South West is celebrating 70 years of successful trading since its foundation in 1940. V. H. Graddon & Sons Vending started as a small family business and now trades across the South West and South Wales through depots in Plymouth, Bristol and Cwmbran.
Victor Harold Graddon founded a traditional dairy business with a milk delivery service in the difficult wartime conditions of 1940. His two sons, John and Kenneth Graddon, later joined the family firm and took over when their father died. Shortly afterwards the brothers were approached by the Milk Marketing Board with the idea of selling their milk in cartons via vending machines. The venture was successful and the business went from strength to strength adding coffee vending machines and later moving into snack vending. The full range of Graddon vending machines today includes anything from ‘coffee shop’ coffee to full meals to healthy vending options for schools.
V. H. Graddon & Sons Vending was one of the first companies to offer vending machines in the South West and worked very hard through the 1960s and 1970s at introducing the concept to businesses and persuading them to try out the machines. The company eventually expanded to cover the whole of the South West and South Wales.
David Graddon, the grandson of Victor Graddon, is the current managing director of the company and is very proud of its history and how far the business has come in the last seventy years. He said: “It is a privilege to be the managing director of the family business and I am delighted to be celebrating our 70th anniversary. I think that part of our success can be attributed to always being ready to try something new and always looking for opportunities to move the business on. We were recently one of the first companies in the industry to invest in Blackberry scanning and monitoring devices for our staff. We now have real time information on purchases and sales so that we can respond immediately to our customers’ vending requirements.”
The company installed its 1000th vending machine in 1979, and since then has installed a further 5000.