A local startup that runs high-end vending machines has decided to shut it down due to rising food prices and other factors.
ELYA (which stands for Eat Like Your Ancestors) is in the process of ceasing operations and plans to shut down completely by the end of June. Owner Danny Sterling said Tuesday he will begin removing the company’s refrigerated vending machines from locations across the city this week.
Founded in the fall of 2020, the company initially sold its quick-serve, ready-to-eat meals from its refrigerated vending machines, which customers can access with a credit card swipe.
The company’s closure comes shortly after ELYA followed the state health department under its original service model, which resulted in it using refrigerators to sell third-party packaged foods as a quick service. A focal point had to be created for the distribution of food.
Sterling said a number of factors contributed to the decision to close operations, including rising grocery costs and an inability to find new and larger space at a reasonable price for its headquarters as the company ended its lease on 7E. is nearby. ., which expires in early 2023.
Sterling said the company was profitable but felt there wasn’t enough demand to justify continuing the company’s line of health-conscious quick meals.
“The pivot was good but not very helpful and then obviously our margins started to shrink with the price increase,” Sterling said. “It felt like it was a good time to leave when we were ahead.”
Sterling said potential buyers had approached them about the acquisition in recent weeks, but they had backed down. He plans to sell all five of his refrigerators. The Machines is located in The Ella Apartment Complex near Scotts Edition, The Locks Tower Apartments Downtown, 3121 W. Leigh St. in Scotts Edition. and the company’s headquarters are in Manchester.
Another challenge, Sterling said, was being the sole owner of a startup that faces its share of challenges.
“I have great people in my network to support me, but it’s very different from someone who’s in the game every day and can right their mistakes,” he said.
Looking ahead, Sterling said that after taking some time off for himself, he plans to start a new entrepreneurial venture, not necessarily in the food sector.
“There are few things on the table in the long term. It’s really hard for me to stop. It will be difficult to go out and find another job. I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur or a startup,” he said.