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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 $1 million in sales. Check out the next VICE Profiles "Teenage Bullfighter" - http://www.vice.com/vice-profiles/teenage-bullfighters Subscribe to VICE here! http://bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE Check out our full video catalog: http://bit.ly/VICE-Videos Videos, daily editorial and more: http://vice.com Like VICE on Facebook: http://fb.com/vice Follow VICE on Twitter: http://twitter.com/vice Read our tumblr: http://vicemag.tumblr.com
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Text Comments (8273)
christopher funakoshi (3 hours ago)
When you include all of his expenses, he looks like he is probably making less then minimum wage.
MJ 23 (4 hours ago)
This guy died of cancer.
jackson williams (16 hours ago)
I made millions of dollars.. hold on I gotta dodge this call I owe money
THISISAMERICA? ??? (16 hours ago)
Question for vending Kings❓❓❓ I want to scale my vending business over 100 machines... How do you service all machines? And If you hire someone how do you know they don't steal the quarters?
pound14poundking (16 hours ago)
This guy got it right I’m New Yorker it’s a hustle, if you weren’t born in NY don’t come here, why would you come here it’s super expensive I was born and raised in Brooklyn and trust me more and more people come here leaving poor and crying 😢 it’s a hustle here 24/7
Scottie Steiner (16 hours ago)
I think I had a couple of these when I was a kid in the 90s.
Dion Vlogs (17 hours ago)
33$ dollars...😂
Rick Czach (19 hours ago)
What goes up also comes down.
Devil's Food (1 day ago)
I remember Homies, ha... I didn't wise-up to Collect them back then. Damn. 🤘😎🤘
Thomas Holler (1 day ago)
I swear I've heard this guy's voice on Futurama
Angel Lara (1 day ago)
I grew up with these homiez
johnbay123 (1 day ago)
Welcome to another of episode of “Why is this in my recommendations?”
Dan Muller (1 day ago)
This man radiates pure NY energy.
Marcus Pease (1 day ago)
Yo coming from the man with a shoe box full of little homies this just made me sad and think about all the quarters i gave this guy, if you gave me the chance to do it again i would probably buy even more homies
Tonyyail28 818 (1 day ago)
Made so much but what happen
K (1 day ago)
Where is he now??
I cant believe anyone would want to buy those ugly things.
homies may make a comeback ive seen some toys come back from the Brinks of loseing everything
im missing one more homie the guy with the dog
Jose Partida (1 day ago)
Probably make more money on eBay But I could listen to this dude talk all day....gangsta!
American Nights (1 day ago)
tech decks next!
Wimpy Denton (1 day ago)
How he is looking on the phone so that no one who. Means serious business is on there...
abxy64 (1 day ago)
Is that you Joey Diaz???
Tyler Smith (1 day ago)
I wanna se this guy on Joey DIaz's podcast
Leeioh (1 day ago)
When the run is over you have to be ready to move forward. I personally don’t like vending machines. The Candy sucks and so do the junk toys.
Fuego G (1 day ago)
Is this the WWE wrestler Dean Ambrose dad??!
Thin Blue Line (1 day ago)
Lol I love how he turned on that little light in his basement like it actually made a difference, looked just as dark with it on as it looked with it off.
How do u get to a point where u buy vending machines on credit,dafuq
Cringe Bud (2 days ago)
My uncle had literal boxes full of the homies
Cringe Bud (1 day ago)
+Cody Rodman yes he does negro
Cody Rodman (1 day ago)
No he doesn't
Jhon Salchichoón (2 days ago)
meanwhile gaming companies are racking up millions selling virtual randomized boxes of pixels on a screen
Ri2nonerok (2 days ago)
Yall need to get apple pay on those machines.
Jonathan hamby (2 days ago)
This guy looks like Tony Soprano if he grew up in a trailer park. I know he doesn't but when this video started I asummed this guy drives an 88 IROC Cammaro.
Michael Weinert (2 days ago)
We need an update!! I bet he’s making a killing in 2019 !!
Corey Fish (2 days ago)
Damn homie
Sawyer Ramos (2 days ago)
what a rat of a human being. yuk! So classy
Jakob Le Doux (3 days ago)
*Struggles to pay bills *Continues to smoke Pall Mall Straights Bro, switch to Eagles or GPCs or something, that'd definitely help cut back on dough
deadpenguinss (1 day ago)
Shit's like $12 a pack in NY too
iSSa cOmmENT (3 days ago)
Damn..
Eric Gosal (3 days ago)
Blockbuster Vending
jayson cativo (3 days ago)
Daaamn i remember those toys i used to beg my mom for money to waste it on those little figurines maaaan time goes fast
Daniel Marzka (3 days ago)
No respect...for the vending machine man.
Sean Santiago (3 days ago)
He is stuck in the past!
Missy Green (3 days ago)
Anyone else find this difficult to watch?
Chinyere Ukwu (3 days ago)
I think this happen because its a new generation. You can't expect to sell the same toy to a new generation.
Mitch Williams (3 days ago)
Title should be "I blew millions of quarters on blow"
Richard Ernst (3 days ago)
You can’t call it loosing millions if the money was made, times change and so does fads..!!! If he made that much then he blew it all..!!!
StephenFawking (3 days ago)
He reminds me of Old Biff in back to the future.
Ivy King (3 days ago)
This dude seriously needs to consider quit smoking
kandijoe 2002 (3 days ago)
I used to have all of them when i was a kid, idk where they went sadly :/ and now i cant even get them the fun way anymore
Mary Jenkins (3 days ago)
I used to collect Homies stickers and figures. When I first saw them, I was blown away that what appeared to be Mexican gang aesthetics were made into stickers. They were cute and tragic. Loved them!
Kopy Kool (3 days ago)
This was a reminder that nothing last forever
Z meister 2099 (3 days ago)
I remember homies! Lol I had a friend addicted to those damn things.
Zerstoren Heartz (3 days ago)
Vending machines need to be able to accept cards today.
your huckleberry (4 days ago)
Taxi driver from scrooged
Kevin M McDougal (4 days ago)
I don't know why this dude didn't switch off to candy he's in new York it's cold all year it won't melt out like in the south. Kids have phones and computers now they don't need that junk. But there is no shortage of fat people who will drop a quarter or 4 on some skittles or M&Ms and they are probably cheaper to stock
Ruben Rosales (4 days ago)
Athletes on vending machines can be a gold mine for kids. Instead of expensive jerseys and action figures 50 cents athletes will sell. Forget the Team stickers and helmets.
Ruben Rosales (4 days ago)
You want something to sell on your machines that well never get old. Athletes from all sports.
604 mayne (4 days ago)
I had one has a kid down here in Canada 2 bux think it was
nypad5 (4 days ago)
He needs to re-invent Homies into a phone app somehow lmao. Then make it a free to play game but if you want more rare homies, you gotta pay up! Make some super hard to get like 0.001% or whatever. hahahaha
JAEZ MONEY (4 days ago)
I still got Homiez
Benjimon steven (4 days ago)
I love homies
The Homie Juan (4 days ago)
HOMIES👊
Adam Webb (4 days ago)
Sounds like dean Ambrose
Mark Freeman (4 days ago)
Yeah the vending biz is down but the product also got shitter and shitter as well so it is what it is!!!!
Sean McCauley (4 days ago)
35% commission? That could be part of the problem. I though most vendors only paid 5-20% if any.
Lt. Fireguy (4 days ago)
Get a real job
Fish Sauce (4 days ago)
Bring them back! I’ll buy them again
Jesua von Nazareth (4 days ago)
He's the white Joey diaz.
C. Mazz (4 days ago)
He needs to re-release the homies on a global scale.
C. Mazz (4 days ago)
This guy is such a personality. This was really entertaining. It's wild the story behind the homies.
Close your eyes and listen..he sounds similar too joey diaz
Protector Drone (4 days ago)
I feel so sorry for a guy that drives a nice car and lives in a big house. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
Ghiman the guy (4 days ago)
I want to like buy some homies now just to help this dude out
1 (4 days ago)
Let’s be real. $1,000,000 in NY is hardly anything these days. He was better off moving to a cheaper state like Florida and starting fresh there.
Elvis Larry (4 days ago)
I still got my originals to this day. And i got all the pit bulls most important
Daniel (4 days ago)
I think they need machines that take card, apple pay, google pay and other stuff like that.
TheChris TheCross (4 days ago)
Forget the homies this guy needs his own sit com
Old Dominion Welding (4 days ago)
I'm from VA and Foodlion in my hometown had the Homies!
Default User (4 days ago)
I still can’t believe people bought those stupid piece of the plastic
KickingAssDaily (4 days ago)
Looks like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, talks like Joey Diaz
muffemod (4 days ago)
fuck that guy
I remember seeing the Homie toys back in the day
Romario Ayala (5 days ago)
This is one really cool dude, respect.
Kev Kowalsky (5 days ago)
Time to get a real fuckin job, ayyye.
kent neumann (5 days ago)
I always wondered what Dr. Girlfriend looked like in real life.
Benny Blanco (5 days ago)
this was pretty dark
Sonic Praa (5 days ago)
Very depressing life
Google User (5 days ago)
Thought homies we're for trashy low life's as a child. Still don't feel any different. This piece of shit is a come dealer.
peanut&jelly (5 days ago)
This guy sounds like he smokes 3 packs of cigarettes daily. Lol 😂
Respect Knuckles (2 days ago)
🤣🤣🤣🤣
Memo Smokesalot (5 days ago)
Sad fucker
Joe W (5 days ago)
I feel like most of it has to do with less people carrying cash
Enrique Velez (1 day ago)
My kids always ask for quarters for the vending machines. I never have quarters
1ON (2 days ago)
+xno4 Yea but credit cards usually come with charge per swipe not to mention require more technical knowhow and maintenance. He'd have to up the cost to at least .75 to a dollar to get comparable amount of return. Now, think of the very likely scenario that someone broke the machine and the cost to repair them. Best course of action would be to reinforce the machines. At this point, is it even worth it?
xno4 (2 days ago)
I think ur right on the money imagine if just like soda machines u can swipe a card at a gumball machine
mr5elfde5truct (3 days ago)
Absolutely. I've seen goofy shit I'd throw 50 cents at. "Anybody have a quarter? No? Fuck it."
Jose Rodriguez (5 days ago)
Respect.
mistah.e (5 days ago)
This guy needs his own reality show
Robb Em, RObb (5 days ago)
They Need to reboot!! Make Lil Bloods and Lil crips!!!
BubbaSteve Garcia (5 days ago)
*YA KNOW*
BubbaSteve Garcia (5 days ago)
Dude needs to get into the voice acting business! 😂 😂
Stan Moroncini (5 days ago)
Give this dude this dude his own reality show ASAP!
Protector Drone (4 days ago)
VICE Lung Cancer documentary, perhaps. "Don't put yous through this brothers, it aint worth it, im husselin over here fellas. My lungs are black from all this heres smokins. dont make the same mistakes I made"
Andrew Bartlett (5 days ago)
Homie should sell the machines and get into another business
Jason b (5 days ago)
he should collab with the jerkyy boys would be great prank caller
Monty TheBruce (5 days ago)
I can't believe vice make money on this shit reporting.
Mrs. Lasagna (5 days ago)
i feel the reason the homies failed is because kids now have phones to play with. Us kids from the 2000's were thr last to play with little toys

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