totally automatic

Kroger installs automated convenience store in Ohio.

Taking aim at the convenience store industry, a Kroger supermarket in Columbus, Ohio has installed Shop24, an automated convenience store machine that will provide more than 150 products varying from drinks to pain relievers, according to a report on local television station WCMH.

The equipment, which is similar in nature to the RedBox convenience store concept launched by McDonald’s and Coinstar five years ago, is made by Boston-based Service America Group. The machine accepts credit cards, coins and cash, according to the report. The machine is similar in nature to a vending machine in that customers key in the number of the item they want, “then the product drops into a soft basket. The basket goes into a delivery bin, drops it in and it comes out the front,” said Tom Riske, an installer.

The machine, which is being used in Europe, is the second in the U.S. The first machine is located in Morrisville, N.Y., according to the report. Marc Bruno, president of Service America Group, confirmed the machine was a Shop 24 model in an AMonline.com report.

Workers are still programming the machine, and it isn’t fully stocked yet, but Kroger hopes to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 25, WCMH reported.

Kroger officials have not released plans on any future locations, according to the report.

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