Firewood Vending Machine Ignites Sales for One Association After Pandemic Slowdown
Innovation led to success
Like most other associations, the pandemic forced the Bong Naturalist Association (BNA), a membership organization whose efforts support the Richard Bong State Recreation Area in Wisconsin, to change the way it did things. For example, one of BNA’s primary revenue generators pre-pandemic was the sale of firewood to campers who visited the park.
"It used to be manual," said Alan Orban, chairperson for BNA's Firewood committee. "It used to be volunteers that ran it Fridays and Saturdays, and on holiday weekends, they'd do Sundays, too."
Even though sales were just on the weekends, they were brisk due to the many campers who needed firewood for their visits. However, once the pandemic hit and restrictions on in-person contact were in place, sales plummeted. A newsletter BNA publishes noted that "income dropped by 60 percent" during the early part of the pandemic.
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