Running out of chocolate and other tasty treats is never a welcome development. But when you’re in the middle of a pandemic and there’s no possibility of replenishment, watching your snacking options dwindle can be downright distressing.
That’s the scenario residents of The Laurels of Toledo recently faced when they realized their vending machines were running low on snacks and sodas and, due to COVID-19, no one would be coming to refill them anytime soon. Their solution was to open a café of their own—dubbed the Snack Shack—offering an assortment of different candies and chips, along with several varieties of diet and regular soda.
Page Rostetter, MED, CTRS, RTCR, Activities Coordinator at The Laurels of Toledo, explains, “For our guests, seeing things disappearing from the vending machines is like going to the kitchen pantry and finding it empty. So, they decided to take matters into their own hands by opening the Snack Shack in our main dining room.”
Laurels resident Jon Resanovich, who is one of the Snack Shack operators and has many years of retail experience under his belt, comments that the project is going over among residents even better than anticipated. “Now that everyone is getting comfortable with the concept, they’re lining up at the door when opening time is announced. Of course, we’re practicing social distancing. There are two doors to the main dining room, so customers enter through one door, buy their items, and then exit through the other door, all while maintaining a safe distance from one another,” he says.
The Snack Shack is open to residents as well as staff and is stocked with merchandise purchased at Kroger and Gordons. According to Resanovich, Snickers bars are the most popular candy, and Pepsi, Coke, and Mountain Dew are the leading soda options.
Rostetter notes that the enterprise is self-sustaining, with profits used to purchase replacement items for the shop. “Once COVID-19 goes away and we can have vendors in to refill the machines again, the Snack Shack will likely close, but our goal is to use some of the money raised to buy something nice for the Recreation Therapy Department, such as an iPad or a projector,” she says.
The Snack Shack project is just one of many examples of how The Laurels of Toledo strives to empower their guests and give them something to focus on and be proud of, especially during these challenging times.
For more information on The Laurels of Toledo, please call 419-536-7600 or visit www.laurelsoftoledo.com.