Johnsons Vending is owned by Ian Johnson, who believe it or not, got into vending by taking up a summer job working for someone he knew that had a vending machine business. Fast forward to September 2003, Ian found himself setting up a vending machine business of his own, Johnsons Vending Services.
But, how did we get here? While in his local pub, a friend asked if he could take over the six machines at their company. At the age of 37 with two young children at home, Ian soon found himself without a job due to his boss finding out about him setting up his own business. So Johnsons Vending really needed to take off.
Reflecting on his first year, Ian joked that he mainly felt sick! However, the one customer suddenly turned into four purely by word of mouth. Now you’d think this would be a good thing, but these customers were in a variety of locations from Leicester, to Coventry and Solihull. So a lot of the first year Ian spent driving miles and if he wasn’t driving he was in his in-law’s pub, not for the usual reasons but he ran his business from there! He was given a storeroom which he plumbed out so he could test and prepare machines as well keep his stock.
A year later, Ian decided he couldn’t do it alone so along came Geoff, who has stayed with the business for 17 years before taking a well earnt retirement when Ian joined forces with Cema Vending…but we’ll get to that later.
After setting up a website with Yell and acquiring more customers, Ian found himself moving out of that pub storeroom onto a little unit in Quorn, then to a farm and then finally in 2013 he bought the unit we all know in Markfield. During this time the team of two grew to a team of five (as well as Mrs Johnson doing admin) so business was running along nicely across Leicestershire.
In 2020 everything changed when a mutual contact in the industry introduced Ian to Simon Leadley of Cema Vending, who suggested the idea of joining forces to become the largest independent vending company in the East Midlands. At first, Ian wasn’t interested but was convinced to come in for a chat and to get to know the company. This was the big turning point for Johnsons and in August 2021 Johnsons Vending and Cema Vending officially joined forces.
Going from a team of five to a team of twenty- three, the most rewarding part of the process for Ian is being part of a team and having a good support system in place.