Tailwind Nutrition discovered its endurance-boosting powders meant for athletes and outdoor recreationists have become popular at hospitals across the country as doctors and nurses work longer shifts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The popularity of Tailwind’s powders led the Bayfield-based business to begin a program to provide its Stick Pack bundles of powders, filled with easy-to-digest electrolytes that are mixed with water to improve hydration, to about 100 hospitals across the country.
Tailwind is also matching any donations of Stick Packs by its customers for the hospital program.
“We originally started doing this because we had a couple of hospitals reach out to us and tell us that their health care professionals were only able to bring in water bottles, that they weren’t allowed to bring in food. They were really challenged to stay fueled while working these extended shifts,” said Jenny Vierling.
Some Tailwind customers, who are also health care professionals, kick-started the trend, Vierling said.
“We’ve donated to hospitals across the United States from New York to California. We’ve sent some to New York Presbyterian hospital, Stony Brook University Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and, of course, our local Mercy hospital,” Vierling said. “As more hospitals approached us, we were like, ‘Well, this is kind of like coffee, and we should really develop a program to service hospitals across the U.S.’”
Tailwind has established a donation webpage, where customers can make donations of Stick Packs, and the business will match each bag donated.
“Basically, a customer can come to our website, and they’ll buy X number of Stick Packs, and we’ll go ahead and match those, she said.
Vierling said she received an email from a health care worker who said they were working more hours while wearing personal protective equipment, and that’s leading them to become dehydrated faster than normal, and Tailwind’s products help address the problem.
“We’ve sent over 6,500 Stick Packs, we expect to reach 10,000 pretty soon. As a company, it feels good to be able to contribute in some small way,” Vierling said.
Tailwind has also decided to lower the price of its powders 20% during April, Vierling said.
With many people losing revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic, Vierling said, the company decided to reduce prices to help people during April, when the peak of business-killing restrictions were in force.
“Just being able to provide a discount for the month of April and help our customers through this time period is something that we felt that we really needed to do,” she said.
Restrictions on gatherings of large groups and other measures taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 has hit most businesses, but Tailwind has been luckier than most.
Vierling said as a food manufacturer, Tailwind was allowed to continue production and operation.
Employees in Durango who are not involved in manufacturing and shipping have been working from home.
Manufacturing and shipping continued normal operations with use of social distancing, increasing cleaning of facilities and meeting other standards set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she said.
The biggest impact from COVID-19 has been lost sales, Vierling said.
“A lot of the stores and our wholesale channel were closed during this period of time,” she said. “Our international business as well has been impacted.”
The company is still shipping based on sales from its website and from Amazon.
Throughout the response to the novel coronavirus, Vierling said Tailwind has been able to keep all 20 of its employees working.
“We’ve been really focused on keeping our employees on the payroll,” she said. “That’s been our primary focus right now, and we feel very fortunate that we’ve been able to do that.”