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The Sweet Profits of Gumball Machines: Candy, Coins, and Commerce

The Sweet Profits of Gumball Machines: Candy, Coins, and Commerce

For many, the sight of a gumball machine conjures memories of childhood—fishing out a coin, turning the crank, and eagerly awaiting the colorful gumballs or candy to tumble out. But behind that vibrant exterior and the pop of bubble gum in our mouths lies an often-overlooked question: Just how much cash does a gumball machine rake in? Dive with us into the sugary world of gumball commerce.

Location, location, location! This real estate mantra isn't just for property moguls—it's crucial for gumball profitability too. Imagine a gumball machine strategically situated in a bustling mall, right next to a children's play area. The earnings here would likely far surpass that of a machine hidden in a quiet bookstore corner.

Pricing can vary, but the classic 25 to 50 cents per gumball prevails. With this rate, the monthly take can hover between $10 to $50, a figure that can sweeten significantly based on location and the establishment's footfall.

But it's not all clear profits in the candy vending world. Owners need to factor in the costs of maintenance and candy restocking. Yet, with attentive care and efficient operations, those costs can be kept to a minimum, ensuring the money keeps rolling in.

Let's chew over some commonly pondered queries about gumball machine operations:

  1. Is a Gumball Empire a Viable Dream? While some candy moguls have crafted an empire from gumball machines, for many, it remains a delightful side hustle.

  2. Restocking Frequency: How Often? This largely depends on demand. A ballpark recommendation would be every 1-2 weeks, but busier locations might require more frequent refills.

  3. Hosting a Gumball Machine in Your Business: Yay or Nay? A big yay! It can add a nostalgic touch and serve as an extra source of revenue.

  4. Schools: A Goldmine for Gumball Machines? Certainly! Particularly if the machine's situated where students often hang out or pass by.

  5. Can I Curate My Candy Selection? Absolutely. Many suppliers allow customization to ensure the candy assortment tantalizes your clientele's taste buds.

  6. Navigating the Legal Labyrinth: Any Rules? This varies by location. Always best to touch base with local authorities for the legal lowdown.

  7. Braving the Elements: Outdoor Gumball Machines? Yes, there are machines engineered to withstand Mother Nature's moods.

  8. Can I Run the Show Without Owning the Machine? Some companies do offer programs where you provide the location, and they share the profits.

While gumball machines might not promise a millionaire's lifestyle, they surely offer a tempting mix of nostalgia and revenue. Positioned correctly and maintained well, they can turn into a delightful source of consistent earnings, one quarter at a time.

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Are All Vending Machine Keys the Same?

Is There a Universal Key that Gives Access to All Vending Machines? 

The first thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as a universal key that will open all machines.  For security purposes, vending machine keys are all keyed differently.  The locks on these machines can only be opened by a key that has a compatible "key code".  Key codes are what distinguish one key from another.  There is no key on the market that is compatible with all key codes.

Types of Vending Machine Keys

The most common vending machine keys are either tubular or flat.

The tubular version, sometimes referred to as a barrel key, has a hollow, cylindrical shaft with grooves of varying length cut into the exterior surface at the end of the shaft. These grooves cause the pins in the lock to slide to the end of the groove and open the lock.

Close up view of Ilco tubular  or cylindrical bladed key

The flat key looks like your typical house key and can have teeth on one or two sides, the latter being more secure.

Close up view of Beaver flat bladed key

The Carousel Gumball machine is a unique case as the traditional lock and key sets for these machines are no longer being produced.  Instead Carousel Industries has replaced the lock with what is known as a "screw lock".   

                                     Lid for a Junior Carousel that shows a screw lock that can be opened with a coin or screw driver

               These screw locks can be opened with a flathead screwdriver.

Which brands use which type of key?

  • Titan / V-Line -Tubular
  • LYPC - Tubular (previosly flat)
  • Beaver - Both flat & tubular
  • Wizard - Tubular
  • Roadrunner - Flat
  • Carousel - No key required (opened with a flathead scewdriver)

Key Codes

The way to tell keys apart is by determining the key code.  Key codes are usually a combination of numbers and letters, for example 'T-008' and 'B230'.  These codes are typically found on the front or side of the key.  It is important to note that the key code can only be found on the original key itself.  Unfortunately, the number stamped on the lock face is not useful and will not help you determine which key code is required. 

Pictures of 2 keys showing their key codes   

Key codes are distributed randomly across the country, it is especially important to randomize codes sent to the same region as to prevent end users in the same area from having the same key.  In some cases, users with multiple machines will request to have their machines keyed alike so that they may use a single key to access all of their machines.

What if I lost the original key or what if I don't know my key code?

Often times, vending machine owners are unable to determine their key code as the original key has gone missing or they bought a machine secondhand and it did not come included with a key.  Many times this happens when machines are purchased from places such as the internet, swap meets, thrift stores, or garage sales.  Do not worry though!  You will still be able to use this machine.  What you will need to do is remove and replace the lock that is currently installed.  We have detailed instructions on this procedure at the following link: 

How to drill out a lock on a gumball/candy machine


Once the lock is removed.  You will then need to purchase a new lock & key set for your machine.  Install this new lock, and gain access to your machine by using the key that came included in the set.

Where to Buy a Replacement Lock & Key Sets

We offer a comprehensive selection of gumball and candy machine lock & key sets at the following link:

Click to shop for gumball machine lock & key sets

You can view our entire selection of vending machine replacement parts at the link below:

Vending Machine Parts

If you have additional questions in regards to gumball machine locks and keys, give us a call at (800) 260-0010 or send an email to

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Want To Create Your Own Custom Gumball Machine?

How cool would it be to own your very own customized gumball machine? We can help you turn that fantasy into a reality!  We offer a wide range of machines that can be customized in a variety of ways.

Body Color:  Our machines are available in an wide range of colors including: red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple, pink, black, and white. If you don't see the color you are looking for, note that our "spiral gumball machines" are made of Corvette grade fiberglass and the gel coat process enables us to create a machine in almost any color!  We even offer antique style gas pump machines where you can customize the color, decals, globe, lighting and even what is dispensed.

 Northern Beaver on Stand              Wizard Spiral Gumball Machine                  Gas Pump Gumball Machine


Product Dispenser:  Did you know that our machines can vend more than just gumballs?  Our lineup features models capable of vending all sorts of items including: gumballs, candy, peanuts, bouncy balls, ping pong balls, golf balls, toy capsules, and even animal feed.

Dispenser Options |


Payment System: We have the ability to customize the coin mechanism to accept the coin of your choice, including coins from outside the USA. Machines can be set to accept: one, two, three, and four quarters; as well as a wide range of token sizes, and set to dispense products without coins (free vend).

You also have the option to design your own vending tokens.  Choose from our selection of standard designs or submit your own artwork, graphic, or company logo and we can create customized tokens.*


Coin Mechanism Options for Gumball Machines


Custom Logo:  Want to decorate with your personal artwork?  Or maybe promote a business?  We can print a custom vinyl sticker for use on your machine.*  The cost for this is dependant on the complexity of the logo and the colors required so please contact us for a quote. 




Home Use Gumball Machines: The iconic red Carousel machine can also be customized with a brand or logo design.  We are even able to engrave a name directly onto the globe of this machine.  An ideal gift for a child's birthday or during the holiday season.


  Personalized King Carousel Gumball Machine |                       Custom Logo King Carousel Gumball Machine |   


Need inspiration?  Check out the samples below to see machines we have worked on for previous customers.  There are so many possibilities when it comes to designing a personalized machine!



Custom Titan V Line Gumball Vending Machines



Want more custom options? can also create personalized gumballs and even a custom crane machine!


Custom Logo Crane Machine |      Custom Printed Gumballs |


You can find our section of customizable machines at the following link:

Customizable Gumball Machines

There are many different ways you can decorate your machine so get creative and have fun with it.  Purchase stickers from the internet, pick up supplies from the craft store, or even create your own artwork to use on your machine!

Customized machines also make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, anniversaires, and many other occasions.

With so many options and combinations, the only limit is your imagination.  If you have questions or if you would like us to quote a custom machine, please call us at 800-260-0010 or email:

* Trademarked material cannot be duplicated without permission from the owner.

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Looking for the Blockbuster Gumball Machine?

Who else remembers taking trips to Blockbuster Video?  In my family, it was a weekly tradition.  Every Friday after dinner we would make the short walk down to the local Blockbuster and pick up our entertainment for the weekend. The big challenge was fighting over what movie we all wanted to watch.

Throughout these multiple visits, do you know what always caught my attention as a kid?  Their towering big blue spiral gumball machine with the Blockbuster logo on the globe.

This is what they looked like:

Blockbuster Gumball Machine |

In their glory days, Blockbuster Video had 9,000 locations nationwide.  Many of the stores had their own Blockbuster branded gumball machine.  My store gave out free movie rentals if you received a blue gumball. 

Now you are probably wishing you could go back in time right about now.  Well we can't help you with that, but we can help you recreate the past!  Our 5' Wizard Spiral Gumball Machine is the SAME BRAND that was used in Blockbuster stores all across the country.  We offer this machine in an assortment of colors and we can even print a custom logo that will make your machine stand out!

Maybe you own a vintage Blockbuster gumball machine and want to restore it?  We can help you with that too!  We carry the manufacturer's factory original parts, check out our selection by clicking the picture below.

Beaver Coin Mechanism |

If you have any questions in regards to ordering your custom machine, give us a call at (800) 260-0010 or simply send an email to

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How many pounds is 42 ounces of M&M's?

How many pounds is 42 ounces of M&M's?

Just like you, we LOVE M&M's milk chocolate candies (Plain & Peanut)... we get this question and more. Check out all the interesting facts one of America's favorite candy.

M&M's® Milk Chocolate Candy, Party Size 42 Oz.

M&M's candy is one of the more popular brands on the market. Their unique candy coating keeps the chocolate from melting in your hand as you enjoy each piece. The M&M's® Milk Chocolate Candy, Party Size bag (42 oz.) allows you to enjoy as many M&M's as you want and share them with your friends. 

Font view of brown party size bag of MM's Plain chocolate candies

Click to shop for 42 oz party size M&M's Plain Candy


  • Bite size milk chocolate candies
  • Party size bag with resealable zipper for freshness
  • Bag dimensions: 2.87 x 9.25 x 9.00 Inches
  • Weight: 42 ounces = 2 lbs 10 oz
  • Number candies/bag: approximately 1,344 pieces

Nutrition Facts:

Nutrition facts for MMs Plain Milk Chocolate Candy

Allergy Information: Contains milk and soy. May contain tree nuts.

Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Skim Milk, Cocoa Butter, Lactose, Milkfat, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavors), Sugar, Cornstarch, less than 1% - Corn Syrup, Dextrin, Coloring (Includes Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5, Blue 1, Red 40 Lake, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2), Gum Acacia.

M&M's® Peanut Milk Chocolate Candy, Party Size 42 Oz.

M&M'S Peanut chocolate covered candies are made with roasted peanuts, real milk chocolate, and a colorful candy shell. They're a little nutty, a lot tasty and always full of fun. The M&M'S party-size bags have a resealable zipper to help keep everyone's favorite treat tasting fresh and to contain the fun when you're on-the-go.

Font view of yellow party size bag of Peanut MMs

Click to shop for 42 oz party size M&M's Peanut Candy


  • Bite size chocolate covered peanut candies
  • Party size bag with resealable zipper for freshness
  • Bag dimensions: 2.87 x 9.25 x 9.00 Inches
  • Weight: 42 ounces = 2 lbs 10 oz
  • Number candies/bag: approximately 504 pieces

Nutrition Facts:

Nutrition facts for MMs Peanut Milk Chocolate Candy

Allergy Information: Contains peanuts, milk and soy. May contain tree nuts.

Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar, Chocolate, Cocoa Butter, Skim Milk, Lactose, Milkfat, Peanuts, Soy Lecithin, Salt, Artificial Flavors), Sugar, Peanuts, Cornstarch, less than 1% - Corn Syrup, Gum Acacia, Coloring (Includes Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 6, Red 40 Lake, Yellow 5, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 2 Lake, Yellow 6 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Blue 2), Dextrin.


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Gum Hacks: How a Clever Idea is Giving Old Chewing Gum a New Purpose

10 years ago, British designer Anna Bullus began a project on what could be done about the litter found everywhere on the streets. Out of the scraps of paper, and empty food containers, one thing that stuck out to her was that nothing was being done to recycle the chewed gum that littered every corner of her city.  This finding led her to research the chemistry of the gum, and try to come up with her own solution. 

First thing was first, how would she collect the chewed gum?

Pink colored storage bin made from recycled bubble gum


Enter the bins shaped like pink bubble gum, she named Gumdrop. The bins were placed around The University of Winchester. 

 Travel cups make out of recycled gum

The gum collected was recycled and used to make pink coffee cups. 

Within 18 months, the campus noticed a drop in chewing gum litter, and the project began to grow. The next testing zone was Heathrow Airport, which quickly saw a cut in maintenance costs. 

Bullus had a difficult time finding willing participants to get her vision off the ground, but, eventually she got in touch with a recycling plant who took the challenge head on. 

Plastic injection moulding machine ejecting recycled bubble gum paste for molding new objects

A mixture containing recycled plastic and about 20% of the recycled gum is created, heated to a high temperature before being pushed through an injection machine, and later molded to the finish product.  

This ingenious idea proves that, even something as small as chewed up bubblegum on the side of the street, can lead to lessening the negative impacts of at least one city's litter problem. 

Source: World Hacks: A surprising new afterlife for chewing gum, by Dougal Shaw

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Collecting and Valuing the Antique Carousel Gumball Machine

History of the Carousel Gumball Machine

In the 1950's Arthur Gold of Des Plaines, IL invented the Carousel brand gumball machine.  At one time, his company Carousel Industries was the world’s largest manufacturers of gumball machines. In the 1980's the company was sold to Ford Gum & Machine Co. 

15" tall King size Carousel Gumball Machine

The base of a Carousel gumball machine is made of die cast metal and has a powder coat finish. The globe where gumballs reside is made of glass. The machines are designed for personal use and SHOULD NOT be used in a commercial setting. This is because 1) the glass globe will shatter if the machine is tipped over 2) the coin mechanism will accept almost any coins, including slugs. The Carousel machine will happily vend small size (0.5"- 0.625" diameter) gumballs plus small candies like M&M's, Skittles and the like. The machine works best if gum and candy are not mixed together. 

Over time, Carousel gumball machines have been made in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Today, the machines are being produced in red only. In the past, the company produced some novelty machines, such as a green and brown mallard duck gumball machine, which can be found on eBay from time to time, and even some of their old machines play music.

Mallard Duck gumball machine by Carousel Industries

In 1988 Carousel came out with the Junior Gumball Machine Telephone. This whimsical product combined both a working digital telephone and a coin operated gumball dispenser. The image below shows the product and the original box it was packaged in plus the owner's manual and warranty card. 

Junior Carousel Gumball Machine Telephone 1988

The machines were initially produced in the United States but later production was moved to China. The models made today still have the copyright 1985 embossed on the top right hand side of the coin mechanism. Just because it has the 1985 stamp does not mean it's vintage.

Are Carousel Industries Gumball Machines Collectible?

Carousel brand gumball machines were produced in large numbers and unfortunately vintage machines are not rare. As mentioned above, new machines are still being produced in China. The original machines have two notches in both the top and bottom of the globe lip. These notches are to secure the globe and keep it from being turned. The older machines also have a sticker posted on the bottom base with Carousel Industries logo, name, model number, and possibly phone number (now disconnected).

Carousel gumball machine with Coke logo

Over the years, many of the Carousel machines have been used as advertising or promotions, as companies have been known to have their logo or name printed or etched on the surface of the globe (to buy a customized Carousel machine of your own, click custom logo branded machine). Some advertising collectors may be attracted to the vintage machines as a result.

The 15" King Carousel gumball machine has a female threaded receptacle on the base that mates to 22" tall antique style pedestal stand. Together they stand at 37" tall. Today the stands are available only in black but in the past they've been produced in the color red that matches the base. On rare occasion, older 12" Junior size machines have the threaded based and can be mounted to a stand. The new Junior machine is designed to be a table top version only.

What is the value of a Carousel Gumball Machine?

Brand new Carousel gumball machines are widely available today and are generally sold for $30 - $80, depending if stand is included. Used vintage equipment sells for slightly more than new, in the range of $20 - $130 at flea markets, antique stores, or online at eBay.

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Where Can I Buy 1-Inch Sugarless Gumballs?

So you want the larger size gumballs, like the ones you've seen in professional grade gumball machines, but without the added sugar?

Unfortunately, your request is impossible to fulfill as no major ball gum manufacturer makes the product you want. Why you ask? The reason is simple. The majority of the demand for one-inch diameter gumballs comes from vending machine operators. These people are a savvy bunch and they require their product to be relatively cheap so they can make profit. The cost of making sugarless gum is 3X the cost of regular gum and operators can't make money charging a quarter for a product with triple the cost, so there's not enough demand to support production. 

Bet you didn't know that the only manufacturer in North America to make sugar free gumballs is Ford Gum & Machine based in Akron, NY. Yes their gum is made in America! All the sugar free stick gum that you see merchandised next to checkout stand at the grocery store happens to be made in Canada.

Click the link to support USA businesses and buy sugarless gumballs in a small size.

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Where can I buy a key for a gumball or candy machine?

Do you have an old gumball or candy vending machine that you've lost the key and want to buy a replacement? It happens all the time.

Types of Vending Machine Keys

The first thing you need to know is that there is no such thing as a universal key that will open all machines. The most common vending machine keys are either tubular or flat.

The tubular version, sometimes referred to as a barrel key, has a hollow, cylindrical shaft with grooves of varying length cut into the exterior surface at the end of the shaft. These grooves cause the pins in the lock to slide to the end of the groove and open the lock.

The flat key looks like your typical house key and can have teeth on one or two sides, the latter being more secure.

Beaver machine flat key and lock

Where to Buy a Replacement Key

Vending machine manufacturers have many versions of lock and key sets and they assign key codes to distributors and end users randomly across the country. This practice is to prevent route operators in the same area from having the same key. How'd you like it if your competitor "serviced" your machine and cleaned out your hard earned cash each month?

Ok, here's the good news. If you happen to know the manufacturer of your machine AND know the "key code" that was stamped ON the key (not the lock), then you might be in luck. The following manufacturers sell individual keys without locks:

  • Carousel - no longer produced and now considered an antique. Shop ebay
  • Wizard Spiral Gumball Machines - click to buy
  • Northwestern

If you don't know the "key code" then you will be forced to drill out the lock (click for instructions on how to do this). Unfortunately, the number stamped on the lock face is not useful and will not help you determine which key code is required. We offer a comprehensive selection of gumball and candy machine lock and key sets, click the link to shop.


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