Three Wisconsin Lions clubs are turning the tables when it comes to service. Instead of asking local restaurants to support them as they often do, they are reaching out to support the restaurants hard hit by coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Galesville, Trempealeau, and Ettrick Lions clubs in north-central Wisconsin are offering US$100 cash prizes to people who order takeout from local restaurants and submit their receipts for a drawing.
Galesville club president Tyler Truax says the idea for the Take-Out Challenge started when the club was forced to suspend meetings because of restaurant closures.
We are very fortunate to have local loyal support. It means a lot to us, what the Lions are doing.
Club projects and community events have always been strongly supported by local businesses, Truax says, so the Lions decided it was time for them to support the local restaurants. With the neighboring Trempealeau and Ettrick Lions, they put together a list of 14 restaurants that continue to offer carryouts through the pandemic. Customers who collect five receipts from any of the restaurants can mail them in or take them to the local bank and be entered into a drawing for US$100. Eight takeout receipts earn you two entries in the drawing.
“Everyone seems excited about it. It took off right away, and honestly this is about the least amount of work we’ve ever had to do for a project,’’ says Truax.
“It’s very important for us to keep those businesses. Anything we can do to help them is important, obviously, for them and for the community.”
Amy and Brad Stanislowski own Driftless Bike ‘N Bean coffee shop and Liberty Peak Deli in Trempealeau. “We’ve always had our regulars, but now business is steady,” she says. “This is not only helping business, but it has increased awareness that we’re here. We are very fortunate to have local loyal support. It means a lot to us, what the Lions are doing.”
At Annie and Brad Beedle’s Bar and Restaurant in Centerville, losing their dine-in business and closing the bar meant dropping the payroll from 30 to five or six.
“At least we’re able to keep five or six who are still getting a paycheck. These are local people trying to keep a job, and we are very lucky to have this kind of support,” says Annie Beedle. “At this point every little bit everyone is doing is helping.”
Brad is diligent about keeping the place clean and safe for customers who choose to come in to pick up their food, offering sanitizing stations where they can wipe their hands, but also their credit card and their phone. “We are forever sanitizing the door, just hoping people continue to come,” she says.
“The toughest part is having to lay off people, but a lot of people are commenting about the drawing when they come in and we appreciate everyone’s support,” says Lion Price Kopp who has owned Wason’s Supper club in Galesville for 25 years. Tenderloins are always a hit, as is the Friday night fish fry there.
“Well,” says Truax, “if you have three kids at home all day, and maybe you’re working from home as well, it’s kind of nice to have somebody else cook.”
This story comes to you from the staff of LION Magazine. For more great stories, visit lionmagazine.org.
Joan Cary is the assistant editor for LION Magazine.