Aug. 21, 2014, St. Catharines, Ont. – Kane’s Distributing, which has had its hand in almost every aspect of the vending industry, marks its 60th birthday this month.
The veteran company has been involved many aspects of the vending business over the years, starting with lunch trucks in 1954, when Ron Kane established the company with John Chotka and Don Corlett. When they divided the ever-growing business, Ron took over the vending portion.
It was incorporated in 1961 as Niagara Frontier Vending Ltd., then became Kane’s Coffee and Vending Service. Now it is known as Kane’s Distributing Ltd., recognizing its change in focus.
Over the years Kane's grew and changed under the ownership of husband-and-wife team Ron and Dianne Kane.During the 1960s and early ’70s the company expanded to include cafeteria food service, seasonal foodservice accounts, office coffee service and video games. In the mid-1970s the vending and games division of the company were sold to the Hudson Bay Company. A few years later the OCS division was also sold. These changes allowed, all of which allowed the Kane family to concentrate on the distribution and remanufacturing of vending machines.
In 1997, the company moved from its Glendale Avenue location to its current location on the QEW. Lorna Kane, who has been involved in the business since the ’80s, took over from her father as sales and general manager. Together Lorna and business partner Scott Garratt developed the new software division, Scott inventing and overseeing the product development and Lorna bringing it to markets via trade fairs and distributor networks. In 2013, Kane’s sold its golf-range management systems line to Garratt.
Today Kane’s Distributing designs and manufactures cashless payment solutions for the vending and gaming industries, school programs for U.S. market and since 2008 satellite monitoring services for explosive magazines.
The company is perhaps best known for its VendIt inventory control systems consisting of software and reader, which are used in industrial safety items, for employee meal plans and even in the U.S. as reimbursements systems.
Lorna Kane is proud of the company’s family values. Some of the staff employees have been with the company for 20 years. She is also proud of its ability to innovate in the face of change. Of the decision to start selling vending control systems in 1999 she said, “We had to decide: do we invest in new programs? But we knew that’s the way the market was going.”
Kane’s will hold an open house on Wednesday, Aug. 27, where they will be demonstrating another new venture, micromarkets, in their showroom.