New Businesses to Benefit Western Students
Contact: Kent Heier
Title: Assistant PR/Marketing Director
NEW BUSINESSES TO BENEFIT WESTERN STUDENTS
St. Joseph, Mo. - Sept. 7, 2011 - Two new businesses in St. Joseph will offer students in the Steven L. Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University another unique entrepreneurial opportunity. Steve Craig, the school's benefactor, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc., are leasing part of the former Russell Stover Candies store, 3715 Frederick Ave., to open a candy store and a yogurt shop. Students will work in the store, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Craig School of Business.
''We're delighted to be on the cutting edge of educating entrepreneurs,'' said Dr. Robert A. Vartabedian, Western's president. ''We're very grateful for the ongoing relationship with Steve and with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to make these opportunities happen.''
''This is another example of our mission to integrate entrepreneurial activities into our learning processes,'' said Dr. Philip Nitse, dean of the Craig School of Business. ''This new venture will benefit the community by bringing thriving businesses to a vacant building in a prime location, will benefit our students by allowing them to gain real-life management and operational experience in a retail setting, and will benefit the school by providing much needed financial support.''
There will be three retail locations in the now vacant building. Two of them will be occupied by a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store and by Aspen Leaf Yogurt, a subsidiary of RMCF Inc., offering self-serve frozen yogurt.
Since 2009, graduating seniors in the Craig School of Business have had the opportunity to take an elective course in entrepreneurship and compete for a chance to operate and eventually own their own Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise. As part of the course, students were asked to do internships at existing stores. The new location will allow them to complete those internships at a franchise without leaving St. Joseph.
''We've gotten great support from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and Greg Pope, the companys senior vice president for franchise development and operations,'' Dr. Nitse said. ''We've also gotten great cooperation from Rocky Mountain's partners in the area, including Mary Geehan, who owns the franchises at Union Station and Zona Rosa in Kansas City, and Doug Hutton, who sells Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory products in his Cold Stone Creamery franchise in St. Joseph. But having a franchise closer to the university will allow students to immerse themselves in the entrepreneurial experience with less travel time and costs.''
One interesting feature planned for the stores is a video connection to Western's campus that will be used as a teaching tool, allowing students to deepen their understanding of retail operations by viewing videos of customer interactions, with the consent of employees and customers.
There are currently six Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchises being operated successfully by Western graduates in five states. The company and Western are discussing opportunities for Craig School of Business graduates to participate in the Aspen Leaf Yogurt franchise as well.
ABOUT RMCF AND ASPEN LEAF: Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Inc., headquartered in Durango, Colorado, franchises, operates and/or co-brands approximately 358 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory gourmet chocolate/confection stores in 36 states, Canada and the United Arab Emirates. The Company recently entered the self-serve frozen yogurt market with its Aspen Leaf Yogurt concept, and plans call for the opening of additional company-operated and franchised yogurt stores in coming quarters.
ABOUT THE CRAIG SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: The Steven L. Craig School of Business prepares professionally-oriented students for the future by offering baccalaureate degrees in accounting, finance, management and marketing. The school is accredited by AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a status obtained by fewer than 5 percent of business schools around the world.
ABOUT MWSU: Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.