Soft drinks could pour hard cash into Miami-Dade through vending deal
By Frank Norton
Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and local distributor Gilly Vending are lining up with offers to pay up to millions of dollars to be the official beverage vendor for Miami-Dade County.
A sponsorship deal, including its exclusivity fee, is projected to more than double the $360,000 the county now earns annually from beverage contracts with five separate vendors, county officials said. In addition, the county could earn a higher percentage of gross sales, including tax, for soda and juice products.
A sponsorship deal enables the county to tap private dollars through vending machines at county government and recreation sites, said Corinne Brody, who directs Miami-Dade County's Office of Performance Improvement.
The county hired the Cleveland-based Superlative Group in 2001 to identify and develop a plan for a vending deal and to identify marketable venues and assets. This fall, county officials solicited bids from interested companies.
Along with multinationals Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo, Miami's Gilly Vending, has secured a spot in the running, according to Ms. Brody. Gilly, a $2 million firm has supplied part of the county's beverage services for five years, but company officials have said Gilly would probably need to partner with a beverage maker in order to make a viable run at the contract.
A nine-member voting committee is to meet Jan. 10 to begin narrowing down which proposals might offer the county the most bang for the buck, said Ms. Brody, who is not on the board.
"It's a lengthy process because it involves two phases and several criteria," she said, referring to price and quality variables the committee must analyze before possibly choosing a vendor in April. Their choice would then be sent to the county commission.