|In 1989, Rudy Steury was the CEO
and principal stock holder in The Barkalow Brothers Company.
Based in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, the company operated more than 100
gift shops in hotels on a national basis and frequently received calls
from smaller hotels (less than 250 rooms) which needed a gift shop to supply
the various needs of their guests. The hotel industry was growing rapidly,
but most of the hotels that were being added were less than 200 rooms.
There was a growing need in the hotel industry for gift shops in smaller
properties. The problem was that lower sales revenues and consistant labor
costs simply prohibited a profitable gift shop in a hotel of less than
250 rooms. Rudy began to explore the possibility of creating an "automated"
hotel gift shop that would not incur labor labor costs.
By 1991, having explored several possibilities regarding an automated
shop, Rudy began to design and build what would eventually become the world's
first wholly automated shop and Compu Shop, Inc. was created.
In 1995 an automated shop was installed at the Sheraton Colony
Square in Atlanta, Georgia. The shop was well received by the hotel and
guests. Rudy continued to work on improvements and enhance the capabilities
of the automated shop. In 1996 Compu Shop was granted a patent
for its unique and innovative equipment that delivers over 400 products.
By the end of 1995, a decision was made to move the operations of Compu
Shop to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Because of the distance involved, the automated
shop was removed from the Sheraton hotel in Atlanta and was reinstalled
in a warehouse setting in Minneapolis, where improvements could continue
to be made. In late 1997, Compu Shop began to install automated hotel gift
shops in the Minneapolis area. Again, well received, the automated shops
proved extremely reliable and are now in operation in more than 15 Minneapolis
In the fall of 1999, Compu Shop designed and installed the "Chase Manhattan
Lending Library" in Monroe, Louisiana. The "automated" library required
Compu Shop to design and implement the return of products to inventory
along with its established technology to automatically deliver products.
In June of 1999, Jim Phelps, the sole stockholder and CEO of Northcrest
Corporation became a major stockholder , chairman of the board, and the
new CEO of Compu Shop, Inc. Jim's financial strength and extensive management
experience, brought to Compu Shop the ability to continue its development
of new technology and to apply its existing technology to new industries
and new markets.
In the new millenium Compu Shop began to work with General Mills and
Honeywell to design and install "employee centers" which will provide their
employees with products and services that are "automatically" available
24 hours a day.
Other applications that make use of Compu Shops unique self service
automation technology are under development. Compu Shop expects to become
the leader in the newly emerging market for self service automation equipment.