Stay up-to-date with the latest news, programs, and ideas at Madison Children's Museum.
The 2020 American Girl Benefit Sale will take place on Saturday, July 11 and Sunday, July 12 at the Alliant Energy Center, Arena in Madison, Wisconsin.
We know the sale is a beloved tradition for many families. And tradition usually means doing things the same way! For nearly four decades, the sale has been held on the third weekend in July. The former warehouse in Middleton has served us well for several years (the sale has moved twice previously over its 33 years).
We thought some of you—especially our most loyal and dedicated customers—might want to know more about why we chose to change the date and location for the sale this year.
You might have noticed that the parking lot outside the former sale warehouse in Middleton had deteriorated. The landlord recently repaved it. As a result, we are no longer allowed to drive stakes into the concrete, which has been an essential requirement for setting up the tents on the sale grounds outside the warehouse. When we looked into setting up weighted tents as an alternative, it increased our annual cost by tens of thousands of dollars! We need tents to protect our shoppers and volunteers from the intense July weather; doing without wasn’t an option.
So we started “thinking outside the warehouse” and exploring how the sale might work in different locations.
We were pleasantly surprised to find that Alliant Energy Center, the Madison area’s premier venue for large events, offers a highly functional space for an affordable price.
Of course, any new space needs to serve our customers first. Here are some of the benefits of holding the event at Alliant:
There is an increased cost to ship all of the merchandise from our warehouse—where our volunteers work most of the year getting ready for the sale—to Alliant Energy Center for sale weekend. But we found other great opportunities for cost-savings related to the move: Previously, we have rented a large warehouse space based largely on our needs for storage and for holding the sale two days in July. Freed from those needs, we can now rent a much smaller space for our volunteers to work in year-round and store merchandise off-site. This will create further savings in rent. We move out in February 2020.
As part of the contract, Alliant Energy Center provides tables, chairs, and other equipment. They provide staff to set up and break down. They pick up and cart away trash and recycling. Previously, we had to rent or buy all of this equipment, and it was set up and taken down by the same (exhausted) volunteers and museum staff that had worked every other aspect of the sale.
All those savings from equipment and labor mean that your purchases will go further to support Madison Children’s Museum, and we can devote more of our time and effort to other areas of the sale.
Alliant Energy Center cannot accommodate the sale on the traditional third weekend in July, as that’s when the Dane County Fair takes place. So we had to move the date earlier in July by one week.
The move will require some other adjustments to the way the sale is run. Watch your email and Facebook for details over the course of winter 2020. We are confident that these changes will improve your sale experience. We can’t wait to see you there!