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May 30, 2014 - 12:32pm

Houseknecht brothers buy back family's former vending company business

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Crickler Vending.

The Houseknechts are back in the vending business.  

John and Tom, who sold Loose Ends in 2008, after the family sold its Pepsi bottling company, has re-acquired their former business.

The new name is Crickler Vending. Crickler after the former Pepsi-Cola Batavia Bottling Corp., which was founded in 1890 as Crickler's.

"It looked like a good business opportunity and it's a business we're familiar with operating," Tom Houseknecht said.

The company has distribution centers in Rochester, Buffalo and Horseheads. Houseknecht said they consider their market areas Rochester, Buffalo and Elmira.

There are no plans to operate a distribution center Genesee County at this time, Houseknecht said.

The brothers re-acquired the business May 17 and immediately started re-branding their delivery trucks.

tom hunt
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It is good to see the name Crickler back again. This was a part of my youth when I grew up in Batavia during the 50s and 60s. Remember that old pop cooler at the YMCA that you had to slide the bottle along a slot to remove it??

Ed Hartgrove
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Hey, Tom.

Remember when the only way you could get a COLD pop in the summer was when they brought the ice down from the mountain top?

Oops. Sorry! I guess that was from a "Little House on the Prarie" episode I saw.

:)

RICHARD L. HALE
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Tom, Don't pay any attention to Ed. I remember the pop cooler at the Y. I also remember going down to where they bottled the Pepsi on West Main Street. The workers would give us kids the bottles that didn't seal, or were only partially filled and sealed. It was warm and not very refreshing for sure, but to this day, whenever I sip a Pepsi, I think of those days.

Maybe someday, Ed will have some memories of his good 'ol days. (if he's lucky)

Ed Hartgrove
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Never fear, Richard.

I was never in the Y, but in 1955, my parents owned the corner grocery store in South Alabama (it's not a store, anymore). My mom, and my sister Pat, ran the store from 7AM - 11 PM, six days a week. We had the same type of pop cooler I believe you speak of (bottles sitting in cold water, inside the machine - and, if it slipped out of your hand before you got it past the mechanism inside, you stood a good chance of losing it).

Of course, the best seller was Coke, then Pepsi, then Anderson's Orange. But, though I liked each of those, my favorite back then was Mil-Kay orange. Haven't had a Mil-Kay since 1960, but as I write, I can still "taste" it.

My memory bank is working just fine - but, thanks for being concerned.

Gary Diegelman
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I remember watching the bottling operation through the front window of the bottling plant. Thought that was pretty cool as a kid. I remember using one of those slotted pop vending machines. Put your dime in and get a nice cold one.

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