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Threadless Makes Holiday Shopping Easier with Vending Machines

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 22, 2011 8:20PM

Last week reader Matt W. shared with us a photo he took of a vending machine at the Dominick's supermarket at 2550 N. Clybourn. What made this particular vending machine stand out from others was what it was selling: T-shirts from Threadless.

Intrigued, I sent an email to Wilson Fong, head of partnerships for the local t-shirt company. Fong explained that the automated kiosk is part of a pilot program Threadless entered with Coinstar, Inc. Many of us have used Coinstar to cash in large amounts of change at some point. The company is also responsible for the Redbox video rental kiosks that are ubiquitous at retail locations such as drugstores and supermarkets.

"Coinstar and Threadless decided that grocery and mall locations would provide not only the opportunity for scale, but compelling environments to deliver convenience and value to consumers," Fong said via email.

They decided on four locations for the pilot program: The aforementioned Dominick's; Yorktown Mall (second floor, across from Express); Woodfield Mall, first floor, next to the Levi's store); and a Jewel supermarket at 2940 N. Ashland Ave.

The kiosks offer currently carry t-shirts from small to extra-large for both men and women. Since the program is in test mode, Threadless decided to only offer t-shirts currently available on their website The kiosks also offer hoodies, totes, water bottles, and onesies. they accept credit, debit, and prepaid cards from Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover.

We asked Fong if there are plans to expand the program, but he said it's too soon to tell. "This is a test that we will evaluate over time."