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Key-making kiosks catching on

Replacing a trained employee with a machine that can automatically duplicate keys may be part of retail’s future, according to an article in the Denver Business Journal.

MinuteKey Inc., a company headquartered in Boulder, Colo., is now deploying its automated key-copying vending machine. The three-year-old firm, which has attracted $10.6 million in private equity funding so far, has placed 100 MinuteKey machines in 15 states, mostly in big-box stores. Lowe’s and Walmart are among the retailers hosting the units.

MinuteKey machines make house and office keys and only accept payments in the form of credit and debit cards. Revenues are shared with the retailers.

CEO Randall Fagundo – who founded, and then sold, the chain of coin-operated games that grab plush toys with a metal claw -- said he expects to hire another 20 software developers and other employees to keep up with company growth over the next six months. His goal is to ultimately have 20,000 MinuteKey machines throughout the United States.

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