Like many organizations, the Belle Isle Conservancy was impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. For a non-profit organization that relies largely on private and corporate donations and fundraising events in order to offer a public park available to all, this was bad news.
The Belle Isle Conservancy opened in 1904 and has welcomed millions of visitors to the Belle Isle Aquarium, Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, Belle Isle Casino, and other attractions that make up the 2.5-mile, 982-acre island park on the Detroit River.
Dubbed the “Jewel of Detroit,” Belle Isle provides an oasis of nature, education, and recreation for the greater Detroit area. However, on March 17, the aquarium and conservatory were closed and all planned events were put on hold because of the coronavirus.
As the state of Michigan slowly began easing its lockdown orders, Amy Emmert, Director of Education for Belle Isle, and her team had to think outside the box to find a way to reopen.
They decided to lease a 16-foot ATC concession trailer from Advantage to use as a mobile office space and registration point for visitors.
“It was initially planned to be used as an educational and interpretation station at the Scott Fountain area of Belle Isle since there is no welcome or information center on the island,” Emmert explained.
During the month of September, Belle Isle utilized the trailer as a safe registration point for their Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsored Senior Thursdays, which afforded visitors 55 years old and over an opportunity to experience the Belle Isle Aquarium for free in a safe, socially distant environment.
“The trailer has been an integral part of our registration process for our Senior Thursdays in September,” Emmert said. “In order to ensure the safety and social distancing of our senior guests, it was necessary due to space constraints that we conduct registration outside of the aquarium. The trailer allows us to weather the elements, stay a safe distance from our registrants, and have everything we need at our fingertips.”
Like we have demonstrated many times before, a trailer provides a versatile platform not only for brands to showcase their products and restaurants to serve their food, but also for brick-and-mortar locations to expand out of their physical location and greet consumers in a safe and engaging way.
“It is a point of location where park users and aquarium guests can come to get information about the island and all it has to offer,” Emmert said. “The trailer allows for staff to be stationed safely and comfortably in all weather and it is large enough with fabulous graphics that guests can glean information about the island even when the station is not staffed. The graphics include a map of the island, photos of activities available on the island, and websites for more information.”
Since the trailer is mobile, it can also be used for outreach programs, events, and festivals as Belle Isle continues to reopen and expand beyond the limited senior Thursdays.
“Now that we have successfully demonstrated we can open with limited capacity, we are looking at strategies to slowly reopen to the public,” Emmert said. “We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from staff, volunteers, and park users about the trailer and its possible uses.”
If your brand or organization could use a trailer, or if you are even considering the possibilities, we’re happy to talk through ideas, help you determine the best trailer within your budget to meet your needs, and provide purchase or leasing quotes. Give us a call at 630-524-2029.