The doors have closed for good on the fabled Northwestern Corp. A final sale of the assets of the Morris, Illinois-based bulk vending equipment manufacturer took place on March 27. Acquired by National Entertainment Network (Broomfield, Colo.) last year, the sale included the remaining manufacturing equipment of the iconic firm.
Founded in 1909 by Emerson A. Bolen, Northwestern’s first venders dispensed matches and stamps. Entering the bulk vending arena in the 1930s, the company eventually grew into the premier supplier of bulk vending equipment in America. Run by multiple generations of the Bolen family, closure of the company ends a chapter in bulk vending history.
Known for their reliability and durability, estimates place the number of Northwestern machines currently on location in the hundreds of thousands.
However, according to company officials, NEN has retained the tooling and dies that will allow for the manufacturing of spare parts and machines far into the future, as well as currently having a full inventory of parts on hand.
“What we did was run off a little over two million pieces,” said NEN’s Scott Ausmus (who is also the new president of the National Bulk Vendors Assn.). “That will allow for a three to four-year-supply. So, there are enough spare parts for our company’s needs, as well as other operators throughout the country.”
According to Ausmus, the firm is now providing spare parts for two Northwestern units, the Super 60 and Super 80. For information regarding spare parts for Northwestern machines, email brenda.anderson@NEN-inc.com