Charles Caplan, an icon of the distributing, bulk vending and redemption industries, died of lung disease on July 20, report friends and family. He most recently worked with A&A Global Industries, since the company purchased Play Time Toys.
“Charles was a staple in the industry that he loved, garnering over 50 years of experience,” A&A Global said in a social media post. “He was respected and beloved by customers, colleagues and competitors alike.”
He got his start in 1969 with Birmingham Vending, founded by the late Al Toranto. “Charles was my cousin, so a real part of my family but also a real part of our work family,” said Steven Toranto. “He worked at Birmingham Vending for over 30 years. He was funny, gracious, a hard worker and loved by many customers and friends. We stayed close after he ‘retired’ from BVC for a second career at Play Time. I will miss speaking with Charles and seeing him at the trade shows was always a special time. Rest in peace, Caplan, you were a true friend.”
Caplan joined Play Time Toys in 2000, where Karen LaForce was among the many he made an impression on. She wrote: “You have been my mentor, my friend and my pain in the butt. You have been a grandfather to my children. I will miss you so much.”
Play Time’s former owner Dawn Noyes shared her own heartfelt words about the loss of her friend: “There are no words for a loss this big. To describe the pain I am feeling seems selfish because there are so many people trying to come to terms with the same feelings. Charles was a husband, father, brother, best friend, confidant, supporter, mentor and so much more to so many of us…’so many’ meaning hundreds and hundreds, if not more. During the last week, I spent a lot of time listening to his cherished memories as many texts and phone messages were coming in and being shared with him. He would tear up in pure joy and appreciation. Seeing him smile, laugh, reminisce, tell on himself with a chuckle and a head tilt and shoulder lift, will forever be the visions I will hold on to. I feel blessed that Charles was the person I could call at any moment with any mood and suddenly feel as he did: life is great. I have never met another person that cherished life as he did.”
She continued, “Charles fought to the end with every bit of hope that tomorrow would bring good news of a cure for him so he could live another day. Charles has said and would say today, ‘I had a great life’ and that his success was measured by three things: his beautiful soulmate Pearl by his side, his incredible daughter Shana and son Brit, and the countless friends he called family. All I can say is, ‘Thank you!’ to all of you who made him feel so special until the very last moment in his very successful life.”
With A&A, Caplan was most recently honored at the 2020 Amusement Expo with a plaque for his 50 years of dedicated service, devotion and commitment to the amusement industry.
RePlay will share details on services when they become available. Rest in peace, Charles.