This is our Lance Vending Machine... it is the one for sale.
Lance, Inc. is one of the most profitable snack food makers in the United States. Lance snacks are ubiquitous in 35 states, particularly in the Southeast, and are found in vending machines, convenience stores, and, beginning in the 1990s, supermarkets. Although most of the $27 billion industry is dominated by PepsiCo's Frito-Lay, Anheuser-Busch's Eagle Snacks, and Nabisco, Lance has shown no signs of surrendering its distinct niche. It "scooped" the industry in 1988 by replacing the saturated fats in its products with vegetable oils. The company achieved net sales of $487.98 million in 1994.
In 1913 Philip L. Lance and his son-in-law, Salem A. Van Every, founded the Lance Packing Company. They offered roasted peanuts to area merchants, as well as peanut butter, which they packed by hand. The business began when a customer asked Philip Lance, primarily a coffee dealer, to obtain 500 pounds of Virginia peanuts. The customer soon withdrew from the deal, but Lance was unwilling to disappoint the farmer who sold them to him. He roasted small quantities of the nuts himself on his kitchen stove and packaged them in brown paper bags which he sold for five cents a bag to passersby in downtown Charlotte.
Confident of providing a nutritious, profitable food, Lance bought a mechanical roaster and moved the business out of his home. A mill allowed him to supply merchants with both peanuts and peanut butter, which he spread on crackers for customers to sample. This led to an innovation: the first packaged peanut butter cracker sandwiches. By now the company's predilection for peanuts and for single-serving packages was well established. A soldier stationed at a nearby World War I training base provided the recipe for Lance's next snack food: peanut brittle.
After Philip Lance's death in an auto accident in 1926, Salem Van Every assumed control of the company and incorporated it. The company grew dramatically during this period, earning its first $1 million in sales in 1935 and the first $2 million in 1939. It began baking its own crackers in 1938, a change reflecting the increased scale of operations. Salem Van Every died that same year, and his son Phil became president.