A few years back, Osborne Coinage, America’s oldest private mint, created a new business for custom and stock tokens in coin-operated equipment. The business, TokensDirect catered to carwashes in particular.
In the last year, TokensDirect has acquired two of its competitors: Roger Williams Mint, which had served the carwash industry for decades, and Van Brook of Lexington, which was also well known in the carwash business. With these two acquisitions, TokensDirect became one of the largest suppliers of tokens to the carwash industry.
The staff of Professional Carwashing & Detailing® magazine sat down with TokensDirect Marketing Director David Blumenfeld to gather more information about this company and how it plans to use its recent acquisitions to its advantage.
Professional Carwashing & Detailing: The last year was a big one for Tokens Direct. Tell us about the acquisition process.
David Blumenfeld: Last year we acquired Roger Williams Mint, giving us a boost in customer base and product lines. We also acquired Van Brook of Lexington whose CT and CTX electronic security tokens fit in well with our existing lines of carwash tokens.
TokensDirect has more than 250 items ready to ship tomorrow. We also have 500 stock token dies that customers can mix and match to make vacuum tokens, dog wash tokens, air tokens, even high value vending tokens.
PC&D: What’s the biggest buzz in your industry these days?
DB: Conversion to $1 tokens. That’s driving the need for us to produce more and more electronic security tokens.
Operators who don’t want to accept 25-cent video tokens in their bays, rollover automatics or any vending machines are asking for higher security, counterfeit resistance and exclusivity.
PC&D: Are there any new products being developed?
DB: Our development team is working hard to stay ahead of the demand for new-area exclusive tokens. We’ve given so many use licenses for Van Brooks’ CT and CTX electronic security tokens that we have to create more new items to keep up. At last count, over 1,400 carwashes and coin op vendors were using CT and CTX’s.
Our latest new items are made from a unique security alloy called continental bronze. They are tarnish resistant high security tokens that work perfectly in all major brands of coin acceptors. In the works are 6 more CT bimetallic tokens — the highest security tokens we’ve offered to date.
PC&D: What specialty products does your company produce for the carwash industry?
DB: Controlled area distribution tokens (CT and CTX), controlled value tokens (TimeSaver), plus red brass and nickel silver alloy tokens.
Controlled area distribution tokens are exclusive to an individual carwash. They are for operators who want a token that no one else uses in their area. When you buy CT or CTX tokens, you get an exclusive use agreement within a 100 mile radius as long as you continue to order tokens. Ultra-high security products called CT Tokens™ are the most sophisticated tokens and are needed for high-value applications.
Hardest to counterfeit, we make them by combining two different metals to produce a unique and highly reliable electronic signature. They are used for values from $1 to $14. CTX Tokens™ are made from special alloys not commonly found in coins or tokens. Each has a unique electronic signature so coin mechanisms can distinguish them from other tokens. They are recommended for values of 50¢ or more.
Controlled Value - $1 Tokens. We call these TimeSaver Tokens™, because at a $1 face value, it takes fewer tokens to operate a self service pay. Customers save time since they only have to use put 1 or 2 tokens to start washing their car instead of 4 - 8 quarters. And carwash operators save time because they don’t have to fill and empty change machines or coin boxes as often. They are used exclusively for one dollar vend price and use a secure metal not seen in coins or tokens. Because we process TimeSaver Tokens™ in very large quantities, we can sell them at lower cost than CTX tokens. They’re an economical alternative if you price in $1 increments and you don’t want to accept video or other low value tokens.
Red Brass tokens are designed to work in electronic coin mechanisms and used primarily for carwash token applications. They have a unique electronic signature, giving operators greater selectivity over the tokens they accept. Using red brass tokens reduces unwanted cross-acceptance with standard brass arcade tokens.
Nickel silver tokens are an entry level high security material and are ideal for operators who don’t want to accept other local tokens. With a unique electronic signature, you can set your token mechanism to reject brass, red brass and even nickel-plated brass.