BELLEVUE, Wash., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSTR) announced today that 78-year-old Eugene J. Sukie, a retired glass plant worker/supervisor from Barberton, Ohio broke a national all-time record, along with the company's standing record for the most pennies collected and cashed-in at a Coinstar machine by a single customer. Sukie, who celebrates his 79th birthday later this month, and his wife, cashed in a total of 1,048,013 pennies, which weighed in at 3.5 tons. The previous Coinstar record, set in 2001 in Anchorage, Alaska, was set at 792,141 pennies (or $7,921.41). The company believes the cash-in could set a new world record for the largest (single denomination) collection of coin by an individual. Sukie's penny fortune was cashed in at Giant Eagle Supermarket in Lyndhurst, OH (East Cleveland). The last batch of 88,792 pennies cashed in today at Giant Eagle via two side-by-side Coinstar machines, helped push the record over the top to help Sukie reach the final record total of $10,480.13. Eugene and his wife have not decided what they plan to do with their newfound windfall, although they are considering splurging on new clothing and furniture. "I noticed the Coinstar machine at my local Giant Eagle and started to take my pennies in every day $25 and $30 at a time. I would just put the coins in the machine, cash them in, go to the cashier, and get the cash for it," said Eugene Sukie. "Collecting pennies was something to do - you don't miss a penny the way you would a nickel or a dime, so saving the pennies didn't come out of our livelihood, but now we have this extra money that we hadn't planned on." Prompted by his wife to cash-in the pennies while he was still able, Eugene contacted Coinstar after cashing in more than 200,000 pennies on his own over a two-month period at various supermarkets, as well as his local bank and credit union. With still hundreds of thousands of pennies remaining, Coinstar, the Bellevue, Washington based company with more than 11,000 self-service coins-to-cash machines in supermarkets across the U.S., Canada, and the UK, stepped in and agreed to transport and count Mr. Sukie's remaining coin at local Coinstar machines in the Cleveland area. The coin was also counted and verified by Coinstar's third-party processor, Brinks -- a process Coinstar normally undertakes to ensure machine count accuracy. Eugene's first penny collection totaled $45, which he earned as a newspaper delivery boy and used to purchase a top-of-the-line Schwinn bicycle in 1939. He then embarked on another collection of pennies totaling $400, which he was able to use in 1970 to offset some of his daughter's wedding costs. At that point, Sukie became newly-inspired to collect one million of something and thought pennies would be a reasonable and affordable hobby. Mr. Sukie also collects souvenir playing cards, wooden pencils and Matchbox(R) cars. Sukie decided to hold onto a small collection of old U.S. Wheat pennies, which he did not cash in. "Coinstar helps Americans tap into hidden wealth that lies in their homes everyday," said Richard Stillman, president of Coinstar, Inc. "And while Eugene's collection of pennies is certainly one for the record books, it is also a great example of how spare change can add up to significant savings." Coinstar estimates that there is more than $10.5 billion in change sitting idle in American homes. To date, the company has helped more than 245 million consumers turn more than $8.5 billion in change into spendable cash. "Giant Eagle is very proud to be a part of this unique and special event involving one of our customers," said Rob Borella, director of corporate communications for Giant Eagle. "The Coinstar Centers in our stores are just another way that we're making shopping convenient and useful for our customers." Giant Eagle: Giant Eagle Inc., ranked 26 on Forbes magazine's largest private corporations list and recipient of Progressive Grocer's 2002 Retailer of the Year Award and the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania Award, is one of the nation's largest food retailers and food distributors with more than $5.2 billion in annual sales. Founded in 1931, Giant Eagle, Inc. has grown to be the number one supermarket retailer in the region with 140 corporate and 81 independently owned and operated stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland. Giant Eagle was named America's Second Harvest 2004 Regional Retailer of the Year for its support of local food banks, and also actively supports numerous community events, the United Way, The Salvation Army, Race For The Cure and other non-profit organizations. The company also has created education initiatives such as Apples For The Students, which has provided millions of dollars in computer equipment, software and other classroom learning tools for local schools and the Be A Smart Shopper school nutrition program. Further information can be found at http://GiantEagle.com. Coinstar, Inc. Coinstar, Inc. (Nasdaq: CSTR) founded in 1991, pioneered self-service coin counting to provide consumers a convenient and innovative means to convert loose coins into cash. Today, Coinstar, Inc. is a multi-national company offering a range of products and services consisting of coin counting, electronic payment solutions, and entertainment services at more than 44,000 retail locations including supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchants, convenience stores, and restaurants. American Coin Merchandising Inc. (Sugarloaf & Folz Vending), and CellCards of Illinois, L.L.C. operate as wholly-owned subsidiaries of Coinstar, Inc. For more information visit http://www.coinstar.com.
SOURCE Coinstar, Inc.