The Canadian entrepreneur and founder of Allstar Vending, Myrna Dorfman, passed peacefully Friday, Aug. 18. She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in recent months and her family reported that she was working for her machine manufacturing and redemption merchandise/bulk vending supply company until her final days.
Services will be held at noon today, Aug. 21, at Paperman & Sons, 3888 Jean Talon St. W., 3888 Jean-Talon O, Montreal, Quebec H3R 2G8. For those unable to attend the funeral service in person, it will be live-streamed: www.youtube.com/…/UCI44-JAG5dCDIjw49YmbZig/lives.
Dorfman got into the business world with a popcorn machine distributing company she ran out of her house. “I’d sell anywhere people drank,” she told RePlay in a feature story in the June 2018 issue. “The bars liked popcorn because it made people thirsty.”
In 1989, the popcorn trade started to fizzle out, but that’s when she heard about machines that sold sports trading cards for 25 to 50 cents a card. “They were the rage at the time,” Dorfman recalled.
To sell those trading card vending machines, she founded Allstar Distributing, working out of her home’s basement. Then, on a visit to the now-defunct Steiner Mfg. in Brooklyn, which was well known for making trading card machines, she noticed that they sold flat vending machines with stickers and tattoos, too. It was off to the races for Dorfman and she began building her own machines soon after.
“The rest is history,” she told RePlay. “We became a driving force in the industry and started competing with every company that was making stickers and tattoos.”
The company was renamed Allstar Vending and grew physically along the way, moving to a 6,000-square-foot facility and then onto a 20,000-square-foot space with offices, a warehouse and a showroom in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada — on the Island of Montreal. They also added a U.S. warehouse.
Highlights in their history were the introduction of their custom Allstar Flat Vending Machine, the manufacture of toys and popular licensed products, the hiring of a licensing agent to secure some big-name brands, the production of an extensive line of flat and bulk vending items, and the addition of bulk vending – candy, peanuts and gum.
Dorfman explained that whatever the toy or product, it was all about producing things that make kids smile. “Buying something out of a vending machine is an impulse buy,” Dorfman said. “I remember years ago when we used to have our own route — sticker machines in Pizza Huts across Canada. “Kids asked their parents to go there not for the pizza, but because they wanted to put money in our machines to get a sticker or tattoo.”
Outside of her business, she loved painting, traveling, cooking and baking, and having her family over for the holidays. She developed a love for the arts, such as music, ballet and shows.
Wrote her family, Myrna was the “beloved partner of Lyon Jacobs; daughter of the late Benjamin and the late Rose Cohen; loving mother and mother-in-law of Steve Myro, Adam Dorfman and Elisa Backler, Elissa Dorfman and Kenny Gilman; cherished Bubbie of Caleigh and Sierra Dorfman, Koby, Brett and Rebecca Gilman; and dear sister of Leonard Cohen. Myrna will be greatly missed by her niece and nephew Felicia and Brian, her family, and Lyon’s family. She will be lovingly remembered by her many dear friends and the Allstar family who knew and loved her.”
Her loved ones said, “She lived life to the fullest and never looked back.”
Burial will be at the Mount Royal Cemetery at 1297 ch de la Forêt, 1297 Ch. De La Forêt, Outremont, Quebec H2v 2p9. Shiva will be strictly private and the family extends their thanks for respecting their wishes. They also thank the doctors, nurses and staff of the Surgical Oncology Department on the 8th floor of the Royal Victoria Hospital.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Gynecology Oncology Division c/o the Royal Victoria Hospital Foundation which can be reached at 514-843-1543.
Rest in peace, Myrna.