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Rex Bloore - Business boom after trial in village shop

Loughborough Monitor - 16th April 1971

Seven years ago a man called Rex Bloore had an idea. He decided - as an experiment - to have a cigarette vending machine in the local shop. Such a simple thing hardly seems worth mentioning - until it is realised that on the success of that test was built a business that covers the East Midlands.

Twelve hundred automatic dispensers are now run from Mr Bloore's headquarters at the corner of Station Road and High Street, Quorn. Growth is so tremendous that two-way radio has been fitted to the company's 27 vans to keep the fleet on the move, distributing more than 1,000,000 cigarettes a week.

Customers are guaranteed the arrival of a van within an hour, a promise which keeps radio operator Rita Waite, of 24 Hall Leys, Quorn, busy at base handling 150 to 200 calls a day. Messages are broadcast through a land line connected to the company's 200 feet high aerial a few miles away near Cossington.

The company also distributes confectionary and drinks to vending machines, but cigarettes are the biggest seller. Each brand has a code number so that radio messages are quick and concise. Drivers call Mr Bloore by his first name when they radio the communication centre. Such informality is planned, however, for "Rex" happens to be the call sign for head office. It is a touch somewhat typical of Mr Bloore, who believes in being a paternal figure to the staff - not just the boss.

In a first floor office at Vending House, he sits behind a desk with a leopard skin under his feet, "I shot it myself," he laughs. Mr Bloore is successful, knows this and is proud of what he and the 41 staff are doing. He starts work at 7am and finishes at 7pm and also calls in the office on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

It is not surprising that this middle-aged business man is known as "Mr Quorn". Not only does he run the vending business and the village post office, but there is also his service station and his stereo music service for public houses and restaurants.

For three years the National Association of Cigarette Machine Operators has had Mr Bloore as it's general secretary and he is also a Quorn parish councillor and Barrow rural district councillor. And I nearly forgot - he founded the Soar Boating Club and is a life member, though this is one interest he seems to have let slip - having sold his boat. Spare time is non-existent. "This is not only my business," he said, "but my hobby. The everyday problems give me an interest."

Growth of the business, given more capital, could be quite something reckons Mr Bloore. Meanwhile, the latest expansion had been to open a vending machine showroom and service workshop where up to 20 machines a week are checked and repaired by mechanics. Plans are being made, too, for the stereo music service to be developed . So far it has been going only three months, but already 12 systems are installed in the Midlands.

The family, too, is deeply involved, with Mr Bloore's wife Olive, daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Mr Keith Tuson, helping to run the business. Those radio controlled vans deliver to public houses, cafes and even a stately home. In all these different places, Mr Bloore likes to think of the customers as friends. "Meeting them makes the job enjoyable," he said.

 Submitted on: 2011-01-04
 Submitted by: Kathryn Paterson
 Artefact ID: 1128
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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