Toys are sure to top any child’s Christmas wish list. However, a Pennsylvania dad decided to surprise his daughter with the gift that keeps on giving: generational wealth.
Reco Oxendine said his daughter was “thrilled” when he told her she was the proud new owner of her very own vending machine.
Oxendine’s daughter wasn’t the only one thrilled; news of his business move has proved to be a hit with Facebook followers. The young entrepreneur’s post received more than 18,000 shares, plus over 2,000 comments from users curious about how to start their own vending business. Several others congratulated Oxendine for giving his daughter a head-start to financial independence.
“She was making executive decisions from day one, saying she could run it better than me,” Oxendine, 28, told Atlanta Black Star, chuckling. “It just put her in a business mindset.”
The doting dad is on a mission to educate his 10-year-old daughter and others her age on the importance of saving and wealth building. That’s the mission behind his new venture Next Uplifted, which teaches financial literacy to children through applied skills.
Oxendine, his daughter, and other youngsters got their start back in 2016 when they began selling candy in their local community. The aptly dubbed “Candy Lovers” crew frequented barbershops, salons and neighborhood sporting events, where they went door to door selling their concessions.
“I grabbed a cart from Walmart and some candy and we just started selling [it],” he recalled, adding, “the community fully embraced it, like they loved what we were doing.”
Their efforts were a sweet success, and Oxendine used the money they made from that business to start investing in vending machines — roughly one dozen to date, he says. Now Oxendine is passing that wealth on to his daughter.
“I want her to be a boss,” he said. “I want her to understand [the] value of being a business owner at a young age. So when it comes to her growing up … and she has to make decisions about how she can earn money, she knows that a job isn’t the only way.”
While start-up costs are low, running a successful vending machine business is no easy feat.
According to DiscountVending.com, vending machines can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the type of machine and its features. For instance, a machine that sells refrigerated treats and has a credit card reader typically costs more than one without all the bells and whistles.
The most successful machines can earn more than $100 per week, however, the key is finding the prime location(s). Oxendine snagged a sweet spot in the lobby of an apartment complex for his daughter’s machine.
Several other factors come into play when determining a vendor’s success, including the machine’s placement, products in the machine and recurring maintenance costs, among other things.
The Houston Chronicle‘s small business blog notes that while vending machines are a great way to earn passive income, it still requires a great deal of planning and budgeting, just like any other startup. For Oxendine, getting the business part right was just as important as building relationships with his customers.
“When we were selling candy in the local salons and barbershops, I built trust with the people who worked there,” he explained. “So, when it came time to actually sell them on our vending machine [idea], it was an easy conversation.”
When asked how he and his daughter determined the best snacks to stock their machine with, the Coatesville, Pennsylvania, resident said they simply asked people what they wanted and went from there.
Through his Next Uplifted program, Oxendine said he hopes to educate the next generation on building their own wealth, especially as African-Americans continue to struggle financially compared to their white counterparts. A 2017 report published by nonprofit Prosperity Now and the Institute for Policy Studies predicts that the median wealth of African Americans will fall to zero by 2053 if the racial wealth gap continues to widen.
“I looked around my community, and I saw where we stand as Black people in regards to wealth,” Oxendine told ABS. “I saw that, and I was trying to find a way that I can personally affect my community. So I decided to teach financial literacy to kids, and I’ve just been studying ideas on how to create wealth.
“Honestly, kids are motivated by money,” he added with a laugh. “So we have to use that to our advantage.”
Oxendine said he would love to gift his daughter with another vending machine soon, but he wants her to come to the decision on her own.
“That idea to expand, I want her to get there. I don’t want to force it on her,” he said. “I want it to be organic.”
Watch more in the video below.