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Cleveland business owner wants to bring face mask vending machines to local grocery stores

Valerie Mayen started selling face masks eight weeks ago, now she wants to make it easier for...
Valerie Mayen started selling face masks eight weeks ago, now she wants to make it easier for the public to get them by selling them out of vending machines.(Valerie Mayen)
Updated: May. 4, 2020 at 9:51 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Face masks are part of the new normal, but they are not always easy to find. One Cleveland small business owner wants to help solve that problem.

Valerie Mayen owns Yellowcake Shop in Cleveland. The Project Runway alum said about eight weeks ago; she switched things up.

"We typically produce clothing for women and accessories as well but you know in times of war you really gotta just do what you can when you can,” Mayen explained.

Mayen said they’ve now made more than 20,000 masks, but it’s been tough.

"We realized after getting so many phone calls from people that wanted to get their masks immediately right then and there and as we noticed the public is tiptoeing around reopening the economy we realized there might be a lot of people that don’t know where to get masks or don’t have access to masks and if they don’t then they probably won’t buy them,” Mayen said.

So, she got the idea of investing in vending machines to sell her masks. It’s something that is already being done in places like New York City.

"You know you can go to the airport and you can get an iPhone out of a vending machine,” said Mayen. “You can get your acne skin care from a vending machine, so why can’t you get face masks?”

She said right now they’re looking at buying two vending machines.

“We’re even considering selling some locally made hand sanitizer as well as the touch lees door holders and styluses you can use at the gas station or the ATM machine,” said Mayen. “Anything we can think of that will help people to function in public safely.”

As for where to put them, Mayen thinks a local grocery store could be the best option.

"If there’s anyone out there who wants to have a face mask vending machine in their location and they’re willing to help mitigate the cost of the machine that would be awesome,” she said.

Mayen says if anyone in the community wants to pitch in or has contacts for local grocery stores, she would appreciate the help.

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