BATAVIA – A Batavia family is convinced they can have their cake and eat it too after it sold a vending business and, when the owner went bankrupt, bought it back.
Brothers Thomas H. Houseknecht and John D. Houseknecht, with two other siblings, sold Loose Ends Vending in 2008 to Boston-based Next Generation with a distribution point in Henrietta, a Rochester suburb.
Now the two Houseknechts again own the soft drinks and snacks company and its other locations in Lancaster and Elmira with a wide service area and a total of 100 workers.
They bought the company back earlier this year and renamed it Crickler Vending to honor William Crickler’s 1890s bottling company, the original progenitor of the company. Crickler’s son Ralph married Daisy Houseknecht, whose brother Seward played a role in the company.
The firm of Crickler & Houseknecht became the Batavia PepsiCola Bottling Co., distributing soft drinks for decades. It was acquired in 2008 by parent PepsiCo.
In 1984, the two brothers, another brother and a brother-in-law, founded Loose Ends Vending, which offered a full menu of snacks along with a variety of soft drinks. Loose Ends was sold to Next Generation within several months after the Pepsi buyout, ending over a century of one of the community’s best-known family businesses.
And now the business has come full circle, with the Houseknecht brothers reacquiring Loose Ends and naming it Crickler Vending. Meanwhile, PepsiCo. still owns the bottling company that traces its roots to the Cricklers of the 1890s.