This success story from Worland revolves around a determined gentleman who has shown an incredible amount of growth as he has developed into a successful small business owner. Roger Hankinson's story begins in the spring of 2009 when he became a client of Vocational Rehabilitation. Roger had previously injured his back working in the oil field and he came to DVR looking for assistance with obtaining employment in a less physically demanding environment. Roger expressed interest in owning a vending business and the previous VR counselor, Will Tempany, immediately began collaborating with Inge Huband, from the Business Enterprise Program, and Allie Curtis, the previous Vending Program Manager, to help make Roger's dreams come to fruition.
... Roger did not let his learning disabilities and newness to the industry get in his way...Through the combined efforts of these hardworking individuals Roger was able to develop a business plan and establish his own vending business, Rising Star Vending. In May of 2009, Roger began pursuing a vending contract to have a machine placed at the Wyoming Department of Transportation site in Thermopolis. With assistance from his mother Fran and Mr. Tempany, Roger submitted a bid application and he was awarded a contract for placement of a snack and soda machine at that site. Roger was able to purchase both the snack and soda machine through monies made available through his approved business plan with the Business Enterprise Program.
After getting both his snack and soda machines up and running at the WDOT site, Roger began to face some of the challenges that many new business owners face. For instance, because Roger was new to the industry, he had to learn how to program prices into each machine, how to rotate stock, and how to maintain his machines. Learning all these skills was a daunting task but Roger did not let his learning disabilities and newness to the industry get in his way. To help with his disabilities, Roger began using dictation software to keep track of his inventory and his mother transcribed his dictation to assist him with keeping his counts in order. Another challenge Roger faced throughout the fall of 2009 was dealing with malfunctioning machines. Roger persevered through this time and as a result he learned how to diagnose and repair a number of issues with his machines.
By January of 2010 Roger felt confident he was ready to expand his business. He met with the Director of Wellness at Gottsche Rehabilitation, in Thermopolis, and made arrangements for a snack and drink machine to be placed in their Wellness Center. Roger again worked with the Business Enterprise Program and through their support was able to purchase a snack and drink machine. Roger then began saving the money he earned from each of his machines and by the spring of 2010 he began looking for future vending sites. He met with several local businesses and organizations in the Worland area and carefully researched if these potential sites would be ideal locations. In the summer of 2010 Roger and I met with Lynne Iversen, the current Vending Program Manager, to begin discussing the 2011 state vending bids. Lynne provided us with the information and guidance we needed to begin working on Roger's bid packet. Roger and I spent the fall and winter of 2010-2011 developing and refining his bid proposal. During this process we received very helpful feedback from both Lynne and Inge regarding suggestions they had to improve his bid.
In the spring of 2011 Roger decided to bid for the snack and soda machine located at the Basin Retirement Home and in May he received the good news that he had been awarded the contract to have a snack machine placed at the site. With the help of the money he saved from income from his other machines, Roger was able to purchase a snack machine for this site on his own and he successfully had it up and running in July. Roger is now proudly operating vending machines at three different sites. Roger is to be congratulated for his success, due for the most part, to his determination, hard work, and effort. Recognition and thanks must also go to Mr. Tempany, Ms. Curtis, Ms. Iversen, and Ms. Huband for the guidance, support, and assistance they provided to Roger as he worked to establish his vending business, thus making his dream a reality.