Maiden Rock native launches healthy vending machines
MAIDEN ROCK--Wade Bergner is doing what he can to help kids eat healthier in schools.
Within the last year, the Maiden Rock native launched Fresh Healthy Vending, vending machines stocked with all-natural, organic and preservative-free snacks and beverages.
Healthy foods have long been an interest of Bergner, as he grew up in Red Wing in a family of health conscious and running enthusiasts. And Bergner was familiar with schools, as he spent 20 years selling books to schools across Wisconsin.
“I wanted to start with children because they are more receptive,” he said.
Bergner said food sampling got his foot in the door.
“We work with our locations to hold the events for times that work for the schools, we sample out the foods and the drinks too,” he said. “Once they try the products, it builds an understanding of what we are trying to accomplish, and because the quality is so good, it helps to support a relationship with the product lines.”
Area schools that have said yes so far have included Mondovi, Durand, Chippewa Falls and St. Croix Central.
Rebecca Davis, a Chippewa Falls High School Principal, said she was taken back by how encouraging the students were in welcoming and embracing the food selections.
“We have two Fresh Healthy Vending machines, one in the commons area adjacent to the main entrance where the kids get off the bus and the other near the big gym and locker room,” she explains. “...The maintenance and refilling is all taken care of and a percentage of the money goes back to the school.”
Bergner said that reaction is typical wherever he goes.
“The natural foods are very popular,” he said. “I get asked all the time, ‘Are you the guy that brought in the machines with all this great food’?”
Among those foods and beverages are baked kettle chips, veggie sticks, 100 percent natural chocolate chip cookies, pita chips, protein bars, drinks and natural sodas.
Bergner said Fresh Healthy Vending machines are also available at YMCAs in Chippewa Falls and Red Wing. He is also in the process of establishing ones at River Falls Area Hospital, the Pierce County Office Building and the Ellsworth School District.
“The fight against obesity in this country is being won by bringing healthy food to communities and providing a beneficial impact while working for the greater good.”
Bergner and wife Kelly, who works for the Ellsworth School District, are the parents of Leo and Max.