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Losing Millions on the Homie Vending Machine Empire: Profiles by VICE

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We traveled to New York City's forgotten borough, Staten Island, to find out how Sugarman created a small vending empire—and how he subsequently lost it—one quarter at a time. In 1996 Bradley Ellison, a.k.a. Sugarman, started Sugar Daddies vending company in Staten Island. He placed thousands of machines throughout New York City in pizza parlors, supermarkets, and corner shops. Due largely in part to a cash economy, his business flourished, shaking down every neighborhood kid for their milk money in exchange for a sticky hand, bouncy ball, or a handful of candies. In 2004, he finally made it big with the "Homies" series (arguably the most popular vending toy of all time), grossing over $1 million in sales. Check out the next VICE Profiles "Teenage Bullfighter" - http://www.vice.com/vice-profiles/teenage-bullfighters Subscribe to VICE here! http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE Check out our full video catalog: http://bit.ly/VICE-Videos Videos, daily editorial and more: http://vice.com Like VICE on Facebook: http://fb.com/vice Follow VICE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice Read our tumblr: http://vicemag.tumblr.com
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Text Comments (6739)
Alexander Hernandez (3 hours ago)
This is a Family Guy character come to life.
Don’t Worry bout it (10 hours ago)
Lmao I stay in Texas but I remember one of the homies moved down here from LA and he had a collection of 50 to a 100 of these
gingerale (23 hours ago)
Addicted to the hustle and to the glory days. Understandable though.
dem ma (1 day ago)
Didn't like him at first, but quickly became a fan : )
YCM Cody (1 day ago)
he must have never heard of claw machines, thats were all the money is now.
Vinny O (1 day ago)
sounds like the Marlboro Man
stacey deleston (1 day ago)
im from new york, i wanted these bad as a kid
Derlaxs (1 day ago)
you know what i mean ... ?
Rocket Cat (1 day ago)
his voice just like Vito from Mafia 2
Monkey JumpStarr (1 day ago)
this guy is great
john cuervo (2 days ago)
Giving that guy a third of your gross was ridiculous. Seems like a cool cat
GhoulBeaR Zzz (2 days ago)
Trevor Long Lost Father From Gta
Dragonx Gal (2 days ago)
He sounds like the frontman of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Frederick Babineaux (2 days ago)
The problem with this guy's that he's a worker not a businessman.. he didn't know how market his product.. this product could be revived with the right backing and promotion.. another example of a good idea in the hands of someone that didn't know how to capitalize...
PuzzleHead (2 days ago)
Old time's
Victor Ramirez (2 days ago)
I would watch a show with him in it lol
soulseeker (2 days ago)
This was sad to watch. I hope his luck gets better again.
Ralph Payne (2 days ago)
People just use less cash now a days who carry’s coins around
Whit (2 days ago)
I live on the east coast. Your homies would have a second life over here. Bring em. My kids love tiny shit. The more realistic the better.
K. Turpin (3 days ago)
Joey Diaz ass
Kenyatta Uhuru (3 days ago)
The problem with novelty products is that they eventually become obsolete. he should have had the foresight to get out of the business years ago when it started to fizzle out. a business like that gets old like the owner you cant go around hustling your whole life no matter how good you are at it, it starts to wear you down. Your goal should always be toward getting to the point that your sitting back and letting your money generate income for you and double, less sweat more profit. should've bought rental properties or apartment buildings ... direct deposit and you're just lookin at your bank statement from the comfort of your home, a good days work for an old man. when your at the height of a business and the sweet starts to sour ... cash in the chips and go onto another venture. business savvy vs comfort zone.
Alex Alejandre (3 days ago)
I want those Homies collection.
The Pottymouf (3 days ago)
Nobody has cash or change anymore!!! I used to give my kids change , now it's my debt card.
LanCable (3 days ago)
I dont get why he seemed to use this as a primary source of income seems like something more to do on the side for a bit of passive income each week
X3G (4 days ago)
He should sell that shit on amazon lmao
This dude looks like a movie character
John Smith (4 days ago)
Buy low sell high. All bubbles pop. Know when to get out
Jeremy Householder (4 days ago)
This guy sounds miserable. You can really tell your personality of your soul in the condition it's in by the way you talk. This guy is in bad condition Praise Jesus
Mike Ledger (4 days ago)
Summary: New York Times wrote a tiny article about “homies” being good or bad, he blames it for everything, the end
Roc On The Beat (4 days ago)
Lmao I live down the block from this video
El Cacatui (5 days ago)
This guy is an older dean ambrose 😂
Jay Jay (5 days ago)
Man I miss collecting those fun times 😀💯
Joshua Fairley (5 days ago)
With his national geographic narrating ass voice...
Alvaro Clemente (5 days ago)
Why is the tittle of video in spanish and the content from video is in english??? Dislike for that.
GERARDO JAIME (5 days ago)
At least he didn't sell those spinners
Matt Ray (5 days ago)
Dat nigga tweakin!
Ditc 210 (5 days ago)
I love homies.i collect them
Samantha Brown (5 days ago)
He was so proud of pick pocketing kids that I don't feel sorry for his slow road to ruin
Brick Building Fun (5 days ago)
I love the way this guy talks. He's like a Simpsons character.
Telios Abraxas (5 days ago)
I used to collect all of these during the 90's, used to get them out of pizza restaurants and grocery stores! Always thought it was a large group of cholos who made these, never knew it was some guy from Staten Island lol. Poor guy, he deserves better. He should hook up with someone in Hollywood and do a stop animation TV show with all of the figurines he created, call it "Homies".
Osvaldo Reyes (5 days ago)
I had the Japanese homie
A_Rolling_Pygmy ASMR (5 days ago)
I was just going to say that this guy sounds like he comes from New York until seeing the description. XD
StevenTobey1 (5 days ago)
@vice can you tell him to start selling this stuff on Amazon and Ebay? He will make a killing.... Could help him pay bills and get that broken leg fixed
Post Malone (5 days ago)
This is depressing...
the italian communist (5 days ago)
Americans explain
Carlos Sanchez (6 days ago)
i want some of those homies how get some
sleepy gary (6 days ago)
I have a big box of these homies. I used to buy em all the time.
Nikki's_Skewed _View (6 days ago)
It's because of the move to a cashless economy, there's so many long standing businesses that are going or have already gone under. I hope things turn around for all our sake's, my kids love miniatures and Shopkins etc so if they were to repackage Homies, put them on shelves and then overcharge for them, all the young, white, suburban kids would *need* them..
scaldedOlive s (6 days ago)
Skips from regular show has had a rough couple of years
Bobie DuBose Jr. (6 days ago)
Put them shits on amazon
Siegfred John Sevilla (6 days ago)
Looks like Gachapons from Japan.
maxx flame (6 days ago)
I'd like to talk to this dude and actually see if he'd like to sell on Amazon I think he'd make bank that way
Sonia Tovar (6 days ago)
I knew people who loved those things but to me "homies" were not cool. Youre making cholos cool when in real life theyre lame.
Veteran (6 days ago)
Miss these ,where my so-cal ppl at!?
EL JOTT (6 days ago)
Oh my gosh... What can you do with this sh.. of plastic???😂😂😂
xXWinningTheFightXx (6 days ago)
Resell what he has as a vintage collector items and resell his whole vending machine left overs then reinvest what he gets into the stock market, spend like a few thousand on a business investor to tell him what to invest in then go from there
sixsense foundation (6 days ago)
IF YOU WANT YOUR VOICE TO SOUND LIKE THIS, SMOKING 85,000 CIGARETTES... BACKWARDS.
Derrick Brailsford (6 days ago)
This makes me SO SAD!
Aflac100 (6 days ago)
Innovate or die. He should get into bigger money. Invest those quarters into dollar bill machines with cranes. He’ll see more cash flow. Instead of those useless coins.
Not My Name (6 days ago)
This dude could become an actor or voice actor for real. Everyone else can see it, why can't he?! He's blessed with an amazing voice.
Mullet Man (6 days ago)
Not one northerner bought that scrap shit
BlazerDuck07 (6 days ago)
Been a lotta coke.
Orange Kitten (6 days ago)
This was directed very poorly.
Harley Love (6 days ago)
Does he know what a sugar daddy is :/
TokyoAfterlife (6 days ago)
I just don’t get how he’s not in the best financial situation but chooses to live in New York where rent costs 2 arms and a testicle
Drink NukaClassic (7 days ago)
Too many people in the comments believe every word of this story. It is Joke people!
Eric Draven (7 days ago)
this guy needs to live stream
Victor Soto (7 days ago)
Or maybe you're broke now because we grew up and realized that you weren't doing us any favors by selling us little garbage models depicting us as "gangster thugs". Maybe we realized we're better than that.
Chris Rosado (7 days ago)
should throw in one awesome prize like a rolled up printed code for $10 in the app store as an incentive to play more
Luke Lasek (7 days ago)
Amazing video hope you guys hooked him up haha
Chris Rosado (7 days ago)
he sounds like the baby from who framed roger rabbit
rolyrod14 (7 days ago)
This is probably the worst and most boring vice episode I have ever seen.
xXMr.e doodXx (7 days ago)
I'd watch a TV show based off his life. I've seen this twice already
Reign Kaida (8 days ago)
This is what happens to people who prey on children for a living.
Job Milton (9 days ago)
Is nobody going to comment about his name?............ Sugar daddy ............ AHEM
Frank Mielke (9 days ago)
i really like his jacket
Ismail G (9 days ago)
Good luck homie I hope he good now ima hit up his machines tryna he’ll my boy out I know most those spots
Lucy L (9 days ago)
This was popular in Texas! :D
cruzafix5000 (9 days ago)
honestly feel like I've seen you in The Sopranos.
Mista Flexshot (9 days ago)
Mate, i m surprise im the same has some people here, lol you should be a voice actor . really
Whippy (9 days ago)
Oh easy killer with the fucking school bus... YA JERK OFF!
Nicole Bemont (10 days ago)
Wow this is so depressing
Michael Dedrick (10 days ago)
Is that you Bender?
mojo (11 days ago)
Nice to see the Brooklyn Brawler working after his career in the WWF.
Russell Quandt (11 days ago)
Its good to know Homies was ran by a real deal hustler.
The Sins of J Cooper (11 days ago)
God damn that guy is annoying as shit.
shajones81 (11 days ago)
I wish this was longer.
Marina Smith (12 days ago)
I was thinking about getting one snack vending machine, is this really a bad idea.
tara minton (12 days ago)
He could use a coin counter....
Me (13 days ago)
this is depressing
_Kips_ (13 days ago)
He needs Gacha machines and a community of weebs
ross mcfadyen (14 days ago)
joey diaz lost some weight man 🤙🏻
AnonG 15 (15 days ago)
I have that whole homie collection..2 x over.. You can still find them here in California..
Ducktsu (15 days ago)
New york energy
nkotb 82 (18 days ago)
I could watch a whole movie of this fuckin guy, he's like a real life Frank Rizzo
Cory Saunders (19 days ago)
That hit in the feels there’s gotta be a product he can offer in those vending machines that would make money for him
Mr. MOTORMASTER (19 days ago)
i only have one homie, the one that looks like ME
Gj Brown (20 days ago)
I still have the Dj Clown.
antonio rosa (20 days ago)
I had hella of them when I was little
Luke Cabrera (21 days ago)
Sounds like Joey Diaz

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