By Nicole Curcio
The student-run businesses have expanded this semester to include a talent agency and PR firm, along with gaining staff operation of The Doll House, The End Zone, and Time Out. In addition, Pioneer Nation set a new sales record, and product changes are being made within veteran businesses.
According to senior business management major Nick Rakiec, the student business PR director, there is now a talent agency and public relations firm located in the College of Management’s incubator spacein the basement of the library. The talent agency will benefit those interested in the performing arts by helping students gain experience, and find performance opportunities such as talent shows and club events on campus. The PR firm is aimed towards business majors.
The Pratt snack stand, Time Out, has been open to students since spring semester of 2011. This semester, it has transitioned into being run by students instead of the university. Although Aramark will still be the vendor, students will staff the snack stand, as opposed to Aramark employees.
The concession stand was a hit over homecoming weekend, according to Rakiec. The End Zone and The Doll House will also be added to the “student biz” list as they are in the process of becoming officially operated under students. Though Aramark will also still be the vendor for these venues, students will be working there as well.
Hutton & Post, formerly the Post Treat Shoppe, has also undergone changes. Formerly the store was limited as a candy shop, but it is now seeing a variety of sandwiches, cakes, cookies, cupcakes, frozen yogurt and bottled beverages. Hutton & Post is now partnered with Grimaldis and a Massinas Marker in Oyster Bay, to get different and better food quality. The most recent effort is finding a vendor that offers Nitro coffee.
Pioneer Nation, the apparel shop in Hillwood Commons, held a “study the bag” sale during freshman orientation week. “This broke and set a new sales record for all stores on campus,” Rakiec said. “We were able to clear our inventory and are now in the works of designing and bringing in new styles of clothing.” Although Rakiec said the sale surpassed prior promotions by a landslide, he did not provide specific details in response to The Pioneer’s inquiry.
Success coach Cara Caporale is starting her first semester doubling as the associate director of the student businesses. She is confident student-run businesses bring success to students who work within them. “The students that run these businesses are able to gain professional experience which is good for their resumes,” she said. “Many companies require a minimum amount of experience that these students will already have.”
The businesses are looking to continue their expansion. “The amount of people who are now involved in the businesses has grown. We have more than 40 active students,” Rakiec said. “Since starting [the student run businesses] in fall 2013, we are bigger than we have ever been and we are always looking for more people to join our team.”
They’re motivated to encourage the student body to shop at these businesses, as the stores have been noticeably empty or closed in the past. “People don’t go in there a lot because it is expensive,” said Alexandra Christensen, a senior psychology major. “The workers are nice and help me when I [need] anything but I feel like if they were more reasonable with their with their prices more students would buy the stuff.”