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Pinellas company uses vending machines to sell art, odd items

Junked vending machines get repurposed as works of art themselves by Lucid Vending, a company that puts them in hangout spots to sell a variety of items.
Clues to a scavenger hunt through downtown St. Petersburg are among the oddball items found in a Lucid Vending machine.
Clues to a scavenger hunt through downtown St. Petersburg are among the oddball items found in a Lucid Vending machine. [ Courtesy of Lucid Vending ]
Published Aug. 5
Updated Aug. 12

St. Petersburg’s Chance Ryan and Kayla Cox rescue old vending machines from the junkyard and turn them into works of art. They are then used to sell the works of local artists, along with a variety of items such as hangover cures and dog treats.

The company, Lucid Vending, places the refurbished vending machines in restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues. Each machine is personalized to the location requesting it, making it a piece of art on its own.

“We want to suit the clientele and fit the vibe. Kind of like a piece of furniture does,” said Ryan.

Chance Ryan and Kayla Cox appear with their Lucid Vending machine at Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe in St. Petersburg.
Chance Ryan and Kayla Cox appear with their Lucid Vending machine at Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe in St. Petersburg. [ Tegan Foster ]

Besides the artwork, you can find odd items in the machines such as hangover recovery kits, vintage postcards, games and scavenger hunt clues. The stock in machines varies by location. A family-oriented location can be limited to PG-rated items, and animal treats are found in more pet-friendly environments. Items are priced at $20 and under.

This “creative vending” concept came about as a new way for Cox to sell artwork she makes.

“I make a lot of small pieces. Selling at markets is time consuming,” she said. “I thought if I took the creative vending industry and added in local art, I could sell my items easier.”

All a business owner has to do is request a machine for their location. If their business fits the “entertainment” demographic, a machine will be placed in their business free of charge.

“Foot traffic has to be there. They need to be hangout spots. Entertainment locations with drinking involved are beneficial,” Ryan said.

Lucid Vending and the business owner split the monthly profits from the machine. Also, Lucid Vending promises to promote the business and its special events on social media.

A collection of artwork that can be found in Lucid Vending machines.
A collection of artwork that can be found in Lucid Vending machines. [ Courtesy of Lucid Vending ]

Formed nine months ago, Lucid Vending is now in seven locations and has turned their machines into what could be considered a tourist attraction.

“I think once we have enough locations, we could have a machine scavenger hunt crawl,” Cox said.

Lucid Vending machines can be found at the following locations:

  • Studios at 5663, 5663 Park Blvd. N, Pinellas Park
  • The Studio Public House, 2950 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
  • Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe, 2927 Central Ave., St. Petersburg
  • Coastal Creative, 2201 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg
  • Crooked Thumb Brewery, 555 10th Ave. S, Safety Harbor
  • Twisted Tiki, 340 Corey Ave., St. Pete Beach
  • The Dog Bar, 2300 Central Ave., St. Petersburg

A contract on an eighth location is currently in the works, and Cox is looking at possibilities of expansion into Hillsborough County.

“We hope to expand into Tampa soon,” Cox said. “Our goal for the year was 10 locations. I think we can reach that.”