Members of the Cottey College business club Enactus have taken their education way beyond book-learning–they run a business! Led by students Allyson Williams and Karlie Acton, a team of future business professionals have taken over the operation of the campus snack bar, The Chellie Club.
Getting to the point where the students could even propose managing the Chellie Club required an entrepreneurial effort as well. Dr. Tammy Ogren, assistant professor of business-management, took students on a field trip to Kansas City to visit different startup companies.
“Students expressed the fact that they didn’t feel like they had hands on business experience at Cottey,” said Acton. “She [Ogren] saw a need and decided to fix it by starting Enactus.”
“Enactus is a national organization for students that supports entrepreneurism in action (ENACTUS: ENtrepreneurism in ACTion among US). In spring 2018, Allyson, Enactus president, held several student meetings with Enactus members or interested parties to brainstorm what project we would tackle,” Dr. Ogren said. “Students had a variety of ideas: selling student creative pieces on a website, students teaching classes to Nevada youth, Chellie Club, funding bottle fillers on campus, art studio with recycled materials, etc.”
Enactus, and the student-led Chellie Club operations, is under the guidance of Dr. Ogren who can share her own real-life experiences of running a business. She was the owner of Spicy Guys Snack Foods before becoming a college business professor.
Acton pushed the Chellie club idea. “Coming into Cottey as a freshman, healthy eating was very important to me,” she said. “I quickly discovered that, aside from the Raney [Dining Room} salad bar, there were few healthy alternatives at Cottey or in Nevada. Craving some nutritious food after a long, hard basketball practice, I would make my way to Chellie only to find snack foods. I thought that as a business student, it would be a great opportunity to take it over and revamp it, offering healthy options and opening for more hours during the day.”
For decades, the Chellie Club was a part-time, sometimes open, oftentimes closed, gathering place and coffee shop. Open only two-to-three nights per week in recent years, students could not grab a quick lunch or breakfast. Enactus members realized there was a potential customer base of faculty, staff and commuter students who didn’t have a meal plan in the dining room and might want to have the convenience of another campus location, open for additional hours, where they could get coffee, pastries, pizza, soft drinks and sandwiches.
“One of the best experiences I have had at Cottey was creating an organization on campus, Enactus, that allowed students the chance to address needs with an entrepreneurial mindset while having advisers and mentors to help and direct them,” said Williams. Williams serves as the president of Enactus and Acton serves as the treasurer of both Enactus and the Chellie Club.
The members of Enactus, with assistance from the Dining Services staff, are responsible for hiring and training employees, making sure the club is staffed during listed hours, keeping accurate records and tracking inventory.
One of the primary changes to the Chellie Club, other than the expanded hours, is the option for delivery on campus. Members of the campus community can order a coffee from their office or residence hall, and a Chellie Club employee will deliver it. Recently, the Chellie Club added the ability to accept credit and debit cards as well as Apple Pay.
Acton said the Chellie Club does more than meet the students’ needs for a campus snack bar. “I absolutely love Cottey and I want prospective students to realize how amazing it is. I thought that a trendy coffee shop/café where students could collaborate, study, or just have fun together would help increase enrollment and give them an incentive to come. I was pleased to find out that other people felt the same way.”
To reflect the new student-led management of the snack bar, the name was changed to Chellie Club: An Entrepreneurial Lab. A new logo reflecting the name change was designed and new signage is up inside the dining area.
The change to the Chellie Club is an amazing opportunity in real time for Cottey business students and a welcome dining option for the Cottey campus community.