Bettery goes for the Whole shebang
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Charlie Kawasaki said Bettery's kiosk arrangement with Whole Foods marks just the beginning of his company's growth strategy.
The Portland company that wants consumers to keep juicing their rechargeable batteries at retail kiosks is set to begin offering its services at five Whole Foods stores.
Bettery Inc. has installed its first kiosks at Whole Foods’ Pearl District and Hollywood locations, as well as its Vancouver store. The Swap Stations will also adorn the chain’s Roosevelt Square and Lynnwood stores in Seattle.
Bettery’s systems allow consumers to swap rechargeable batteries, by using touch-screen displays, for competitively priced rechargeable units that can be exchanged for fresh batteries when they run out of juice.
The company’s kiosks both sell rechargeable batteries and accept dead batteries for recharging. The idea is to entice consumers to adopt rechargeable battery technology because it’s less expensive and far more earth-friendly.
The Whole Foods arrangement, announced last October, could signal the start of an intense growth period for Bettery.
“This could be a proof point that this is something we can roll out nationally,” said Charlie Kawasaki, Better’s founder and CEO. He mentioned that the company could target such outlets as Kroger, Fred Meyer or drugstores such as Walgreens where people normally purchase batteries.
Bettery has received more than $350,000 in funding. Wieden+Kennedy is backing the company with design and other services.
Bettery hopes to quell the number of batteries thrown into landfills each year. Kawasaki puts the figure at 2.5 billion.
“We want to be the forerunners on this,” said Dena Hastings, Whole Foods regional green mission specialist. “It’s cool that it’s automated, it’s green-friendly and it’s convenient for our customers. It gives them another product that fits our core values. We’re really excited to be able to provide this to the community.”
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