Chicago's Good Things Vending stocks colorfully painted machines with local artisan wares

ByJordan Arseneau Localish logo
Monday, April 15, 2024
Good Things Vending stocks colorful machines with local artisan wares
Customers expecting candy find locally made pins, patches, stickers, and other goodies in Good Things Vending's snack machines.

CHICAGO -- Entrepreneur Steph Krim doesnt mind when customers are bewildered by her colorfully painted vending machines. Her business, Good Things Vending, stocks machines once full of potato chips and candy bars with art, nostalgia items, and whatever else she thinks buyers might want from local artisans.

"I like the moment of confusion that happens when somebody sees the vending machine," said Krim. "My dream is that you walk by the machine and you're grabbed by something that speaks sort of specifically to you."

Krim owns five full-sized snack vending machines placed at the Chicago Cultural Center, Kimball Arts Center, Way Out Bar, Kaiser Tiger Restaurant, and Off Color Brewings Mousetrap Tap Room. Each machine is strategically stocked with artisan items that fit their location.

"Everything in the machine is $20 and under," said Krim. "All of the artists work in the machine, when work is first stocked, is on consignment, 60-40 in favor of the artists."

Customers can find pins, patches, stickers, drink koozies, notebooks, small format paintings, and other similarly-sized items in the machines. The name of the company, Good Things Vending, was inspired by the unique products buyers are able to purchase.

"It felt like the easiest way to sum up what's coming out of this machine," said Krim. "It's just good stuff and whatever that means to you, if it's vendable, we'll put it in there."

Krim said her love of vending machines dates back to when she visited Japan as a child and encountered them as a foreigner. Wanting to give local artisans an accessible platform, she settled on vending machines as the most affordable and approachable way to expose customers to their wares.

"Walking into all the things that I didn't know on this project, is the single most important decision I ever made," said Krim. "The goal is to create a space where the artist can profit from the work that they make, get exposure to a bunch of different kinds of audiences, and fit into a space that doesn't have the same confines as traditional retail."

Krim, who was pregnant at the start of Good Things Vending, credits her partner for supporting her dream of running a unique business. She said she hopes to consult entrepreneurs beyond the Windy City to create vending machines stocked with unorthodox but local items.

"This project is so Chicago centric, that I refer to it as my love letter to Chicago," said Krim. "My hope is to create opportunities for folks who have their own art communities in other places to do their own weird things with vending machines."

For more information on Good Things Vending, visit