Stealthy “Stump” Portable Restroom Shines at Pumper & Cleaner Expo

Stealthy “Stump” Portable Restroom Shines at Pumper & Cleaner Expo
Kurt Ludwigsen, left, of Nature Calls, explains the features of The Stump restroom to a 2013 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo visitor. (Jim Kneiszel photo)

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One attention-grabbing portable sanitation product that debuted at the 2013 Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo may have seemed out of place. But while the original concept behind the Stump from Nature Calls wasn’t as a portable restroom, that may be where the realistic tree truck design finds a niche.

According to the company’s general manager, Kurt Ludwigsen, the Stump came from an idea he came up with attending another tradeshow geared toward the outdoors market.

“I met some fellas who were making blinds at a hunting show toward the end of 2011 and saw the potential of the amazing realism of the product,” says Ludwigsen. “We talked over the coming months about making units without windows and built for one person instead of two or three.”

Next Ludwigsen had to answer whether a market for the product existed. That meant researching where his new restroom would be a fit. “We went into research and development, met with people in and out of the industry and collected data from some target venues like golf courses and campgrounds,” says Ludwigsen. “So far our product and process has seen great success across a few different vertical markets and we believe that we can do some great things with the portable sanitation industry.

“The Pumper & Cleaner Expo was the place we had pinpointed to show off the unit,” says Ludwigsen. “The reaction from the attendees was beyond our expectations. The first two days of the show, there wasn’t a slow minute at the booth. We routinely had 15 to 20 folks at the booth at any time and I felt like a barker at a carnival ... ‘Step right up and see the amazing tree stump!’ “

The Stump has no right angles or straight lines, with realistic bark-textured surfaces. The interior of the polyurethane shell is 6 feet 10 inches tall, and the unit keeps weather and animals out and users comfortable year-round with floor-to-ceiling encapsulated insulation. It features a UV-stabilized hard surface, integrated rain drainage system, seamless construction, standard seat and urinal, a locking door with internal frame and a 60-gallon holding tank. The unit is about 8 feet tall and weighs 295 pounds.

“The Stump is designed to become one with its surroundings,” explains Ludwigsen. “We’re not designed to compete with standard restrooms, but rather complement in placement. While a row of restrooms is perfect for the parking lots of Augusta National, our unit is designed to be right there on the 15th fairway of the golf course. It’s light enough to be moved in and out for events, while sturdy enough for a 10-year placement and ongoing servicing.”

The Stump is created from a mold of an actual 100-year-old oak tree at their facility outside Kerrville, Texas. Because the footprint is a circle instead of a square, there is ample interior space, Ludwigsen says. “It allows us to integrate different components into the unit without the constraints of corners,” says Ludwigsen.

Ludwigsen was happy with the response from the Expo crowd. “We got a considerable amount of interest from rental companies as well as private buyers, and were fortunate enough to take several orders on the show floor,” says Ludwigsen. “We’re going to need a larger booth next year, as we’ll be bringing two units and potentially a new take on the European event urinals.” 415/505-4318; www.naturecalls.com.



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