Ted Morton founded Casco Bay Vending in Lewiston in 2008 with two employees and a vision.

1. What led to creating the company?

My wife and I left Maine for the better part of a decade to enhance our respective careers. In 2008, we decided it was it time to move back to Maine to be closer to our families and to get back to a good quality of life. I have always been entrepreneurial and really wanted to build a successful company which would allow me to employ good, hardworking Mainers. I purchased my initial vending company in September of 2008 and had two employees and 265 machines in service. Today, we have 120 employees and 44 routes with roughly 6,000 machines.

2. What was your career pre-CBV? How did that experience help in your day-to-day now?

Prior to starting CBV, I was in commercial and multifamily real estate management. I worked for the largest REIT (real estate investment trust) overseeing capital improvements and the facilities departments throughout the country. This experience helped me master managing multiple, and ever-changing, priorities and getting things done by inspiring others.

3. You’ve just taken a big jump in growth, buying two competitors. What sort of challenges and benefits does that present?

The biggest challenge will be merging the cultures of the three companies and creating one great company out of three very good companies. I’m fortunate that both of my competitors had some very talented and hardworking employees so I’m confident that we will all pull together and do great things! I am also very excited that these acquisitions afford me the ability to offer some great benefits to my employees.

One of the services that has set us apart is our healthier food plans. We work with our customers to customize their snack, beverage and fresh-food selections so a certain percentage of products offered has lower fat, calories and/or carbohydrates. This compliments many employers’ wellness programs offered to their employees and ultimately helps improve the health of Mainers.

With our combined staff we will now be better equipped to provide superior service and expand our healthier food plans to our significant customer base.

4. What is a policy or issue you’re following this winter at either the state or national level, and what impact could it have on your business?

There are new government regulations requiring nutritional information on food packaging. This complex issue has many facets that could have significant impact on the food industry. The other issue that I monitor closely is the cost of utilities in the state of Maine. With five locations throughout the state, the cost of heat and electricity specifically affect the profitability of my business and many other businesses in our state. Finding alternative solutions may be key to continued success.

5. If you received a $1 million grant tomorrow, no strings attached, what would you invest it in?

Technology. One of the reasons I entered this industry back in 2008 was the emergence of remote monitoring technology. This technology allows me to monitor the amount of products in the machines and the revenue generated. This created a much more efficient operation and helped to ensure my customers were being served appropriately. The possibilities that surround technology are endless. Today, people can buy their products using a credit or debit card, Apple Pay or the good old-fashioned way — cash. In addition, with the introduction of micro-markets (basically mini on-site convenience stores), our product offering options are endless. Technological advances are ongoing and it’s important to Casco Bay Vending to capitalize on these to sustain our service levels and enhance our customers’ vending experience.

6. There’s been a Nor’easter. You’re snowed inside. It’s just you, six quarters and a vending machine. What do you choose?

Labadie’s raspberry pastry. Labadie’s is based in Lewiston and makes the best pastries!

Six Questions for the CEO is a regular feature on the faces and names that keep business interesting. Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at [email protected]