Rheanna Plemons likes the hot chocolate poke cake. Beth Beckham is a fan of the various cheesecake options.
The two women, despite their different tastes, have one thing in common: their favorite sweets are now available at the swipe of a credit card and the push of a button.
Plemons and Beckham are both devotees of one of Bowling Green’s newest dessert vendors, one that is available morning, noon and night.
Drip Confections, a business started by Warren County native Amanda Schambon, is now offering a high-tech option for those with a sweet tooth: a dessert vending machine in the Southern Lanes bowling alley on Scottsville Road.
The bright-pink machine, decorated with images of the cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other treats stocked inside, has been located since June just inside the entrance to Southern Lanes and is beginning to attract some followers.
“She has amazing cheesecake options, and I like the cupcakes and the chocolate-covered pretzels,” said Beckham. “It’s all fresh and very good.
“Mostly, I buy items for gifts. She has good packaging and presentation. I really like it as a gift option.”
Plemons, on the other hand, said she likes visiting the Drip Confections machine for the quality of the desserts.
“I think she (Schambon) offers a one-of-a-kind product,” said Plemons, a Western Kentucky University assistant professor. “She has higher-quality products. One of the things I like about it is that you can find unique items.”
Unique could describe such items as that hot chocolate poke cake or the Mona Lisa cupcake, and it could also describe Schambon’s approach to selling her baked goods.
A 1999 Warren East High School graduate, Schambon earned a degree in graphic design at the University of Kentucky and later worked in the David’s Bridal corporate office in Pennsylvania.
But Schambon, a self-described “sweets person,” decided to combine her love of desserts with her penchant for art and create Drip Confections.
Making and selling custom edible creations, often topped with sculpted butter cream or painted images, Schambon was nearly ready to open her own shop when the COVID-19 pandemic changed her plans.
“I was doing custom orders, with high-end-type items like sugar cookies with art on them,” Schambon said. “I was ready to start a store, then COVID hit.”
That led Schambon to investigate the idea of a dessert vending machine and to enlist the help of business partner Nathaniel Crenshaw, a Hart County native and WKU graduate now working in Louisville.
“I started out as a customer, then that evolved into me helping her get started with the vending machine,” Crenshaw said. “It was her idea. We’ve seen some cupcake vending machines in Chicago and other areas, but it’s not something we’ve run into locally.”
Schambon and Crenshaw purchased a vending machine in California, and Schambon designed the decorative wrap for it.
In the few months that it has been operating, the Drip Confections vending machine has been catching on with customers, Crenshaw said.
“Everyone who has tried the products seems to like them,” he said. “She (Schambon) keeps rotating the products. There’s always something new going in.”
Schambon admits that the vending machine does keep her busy. She makes the baked goods in the industrial kitchen located next to the SoKY Marketplace in downtown Bowling Green and then makes sure the machine is stocked with those items.
“I switch it every day to keep it fresh,” Schambon said. “Now the challenge is letting people know it exists and what type of items we have.”
The items are what Schambon describes as “gourmet” desserts and items such as syrups, creamer and sea moss nutritional supplements that range in price from $5 to $25, with most falling in the $8-to-$13 range.
“I’m trying to get people to get over the sticker shock,” she said. “We’re comparable to the Cheesecake Factory, although they’re a little more expensive.”
Sticker shock aside, Schambon is already thinking about expanding her single-location business.
“The next place we’d like to go is the WKU campus,” she said. “I’d like to have one near the Corvette plant, too, and I want to get into the Nashville market as well as Glasgow, Smiths Grove and Franklin.”
Schambon’s dream of opening a brick-and-mortar store isn’t dead either.
“Eventually, I want to get a food truck,” she said. “Then, maybe five years down the road, I want to open a storefront.”