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Monday, Oct 2, 2023

Hoping to Make A Splash

Forgot your swim cap? Need new goggles? Speedo has the answer: poolside vending machines that dispense swimsuits and gear.

“Almost everybody forgets something once in a while when they go to the pool,” said Jay Fitzgerald, director of retail marketing for Speedo.

L.A.-based Speedo USA, a division of Warnaco Swimwear Inc., started with an order of 15 machines that were leased to dealers of Speedo merchandise, which in turn placed them at public pools from Santa Monica to Tallahassee, Fla.

The company envisions machines at water amusement parks and pools at gyms and resorts.

The local dealers pay a monthly licensing fee to Speedo USA to get the machines. They also have to rent space at the pools and stock the machines with Speedo merchandise. The machines only accept debit or credit cards; all the money goes to the distributors.

The machines also serve as billboards for the brand. They have large areas for artwork, and currently feature Speedo endorsees such as Olympians Michael Phelps and Natalie Coughlin.

During summer months, the company expects to sell goggles, caps and even waterproof diapers. In winter months, the machines will have more performance items for lap swimmers and competitors.

The concept of swim wear in vending machines is relatively new, although it has been done before. In fact, the Standard Hotel in downtown Los Angeles converted a vending machine last year to sell swim wear. It partnered with Quiksilver Inc., a Huntington Beach beach wear company, to supply the merchandise. The focus is more on fashion than performance.

“It’s a great thing for guests because there’s no excuse for not being out at the pool,” said Tiana Webb Evans, Standard spokeswoman.

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