Easier access to health products through Lil’ Healthmart

Photo by Paige Bush

Photo by Paige Bush

If you’re a frequent guest at the Wilfrid Laurier University Science building, you may have bumped into the newly installed touchscreen vending machine, but you can call her Linda.

Linda, formerly named “My Lil’ Healthmart” is Canada’s first touch screen vending machine that sells health and personal care products, created by childhood friends Tim Decker and Ryan Snelling.

“[My Lil’ Healthmart] is here to provide students a really convenient way to get health and personal care products that they would normally need to go to like a Rexall or Shoppers Drug Mart for,” said Decker.

“What we carry is essentially the top 50 non-pharmaceutical products that you would normally get at one of those stores.”

While students may be afraid of getting ripped off when buying something as simple as toothpaste, the founders want their customers to know their products have been price-matched at stores such as Shoppers Drug Mart.

“We don’t want to overcharge people for their convenience of things, like it’s convenient, it’s going to be cost-effective and it’s just going to make everyone’s life a lot easier,” said Snelling.

My Lil’ Healthmart is also available to students on weekends and after hours when on-campus stores are closed. The two founders are also planning to create an app in the next 6 to twelve months that allows customers to communicate with the machine, as well as purchases and reward points. Before bringing My Lil’ Healthmart home to Laurier, Decker and Snelling canvassed to various post-secondary institutions, such as Fanshawe College and the University of Waterloo, to find a home for their new project.

“The moment we met Laurier we just felt that the culture and the values of the campus was in line with exactly what we do, like having things like the Launchpad for entrepreneurs on campus was really big,” said Decker.

Dan Dawson, assistant vice-president of student affairs, and David Playfair, manager of business operations, were responsible for integrating My Lil’ Healthmart into the Laurier community.

“They were just really in line with what we’re thinking about the brand, about integrating students, integrating social media and everything we had,” said Snelling. “I think after probably more universities see this test case, they’re going to be a lot more open to it but I think Wilfrid Laurier,” said Decker.

With around 100 transactions since its installment, Decker and Snelling have already seen positive feedback from those who have used their machine.

“So far we’re really happy with it and we’re excited to kind of continue to grow it,” said Snelling.

Laurier clubs and associations could also use My Lil’ Healthmart to their advantage by placing virtual advertisements on top of the machine. Both Decker and Snelling are willing to provide the space to student groups as well as integrate themselves with the student body. The pair is also planning on integrating the machine into campus tours and partner with Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

“We’re all about building a partnership, we don’t want to just be a vendor on campus, we want to be a part of it,” said Decker.

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