- - Tuesday, March 6, 2012

BEVERLY HILLS — Sprinkles, the Beverly Hills bakery that helped inspire the craze for sweet frosting in snack-size portions, will launch a cupcake-dispensing machine at its flagship store.

The first high-tech vending machine rolled out on Tuesday, with three more in the works for New York City by the summer, said founder and owner Candace Nelson.

The ATM-like machine features a touch screen and a robotic arm that pulls the right flavored cupcake from a wall of single-serving boxes inside the store.

Ms. Nelson said the custom-built gadget is in response to demand for increased hours at the popular store.

“After dinner people want a cupcake. But we can’t be open all night long because of our poor employees. So we’ll just stock it fresh before they leave for the evening and it’ll be good to go,” she said.

The machines will be restocked constantly throughout the day so the goods stay fresh.

Ms. Nelson said she was inspired to make the sugary treats available 24-7 when she realized that she couldn’t satisfy her own late-night cravings.

“I was pregnant with my second child and I thought, I’m the owner of a cupcake bakery and even I can’t get a cupcake in the middle of the night,” she said.

Customers think the vending machines are a sweet idea.

“You can never have too much access to your cupcakes,” said Patrick Swope of Rogers, Ark., who was visiting the Sprinkles New York City shop with his family.

NEW YORK

1 WTC seeks broadcast antenna to lure stations

NEW YORK — Officials at the 1,776-foot World Trade Center tower want to install a broadcast antenna in an effort to attract radio and television stations currently broadcasting from the Empire State Building.

The senior vice president of the Durst Organization, Thomas Bow, tells the Wall Street Journal the development firm wants the tower to become the premiere broadcast facility in New York City, just like the original towers had been before the terrorist attacks in 2001.

A spokesman for Malkin Holdings, an owner of the Empire State Building, declined to comment.

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