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Chocolate factory adds St. Joseph to lineup

A sweet choice with healthy options in one stop is sure to please both students and the St. Joseph community.

Students in the Steven L. Craig School of Business at Missouri Western State University and their partnership with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Inc. will be opening a new store in St. Joseph. They are leasing the former Russell Stover Candies store on Frederick Avenue for the new RMCF and its subsidiary, Aspen Leaf Yogurt, offering self-serve frozen yogurt.

For the first time, RMCF will have a live video connection from the store to the classroom here at Western.

Students in the CSB will be able to watch salesmanship transactions taking place in real time while observing every day operations.

Western President Robert Vartabedian expressed what an exciting opportunity this is for Western’s business students.

“Adding this live video connection to the store in St. Joseph as a teaching tool, I think, is a role model for a successful entrepreneurship program,” Vartabedian said.

The live video connection is an opportunity to extend the classroom beyond campus and students will be able to hear and see everything going on. It will allow business students to actually work at the business and witness what happens from the opening all the way through every aspect of the operation.

Dr. Philip Nitse, dean of the Craig School of Business, knows the benefit students will have from a live video connection.

“It is something that is hands-on, tangible, not just something their reading in a text book,” Nitse said.

According to Nitse, the projected opening of the store is around the middle of November and that’s all based on any problems with construction that may arise, but at the moment the project is on target.

Not only do business students benefit from opening a RMCF store and yogurt shop here in St. Joseph, but it is good for Western as a whole.

Nitse said it will bring very valuable insight and awareness of the community about the exciting things Western is doing.

Western’s CSB alum is successfully operating six RMCF franchises in five different states.

Western alum, Seth Lyons, graduated in December 2008 with alum partner Kelsey Lyons. Kelsey majored in economics and Seth majored in finance.

The Lyons team opened the first Western and RMCF partnership in Silverthorne, Colo.

Together they have built a success story that has continued.

Seth gives credit for his success to Western and all its professors in the CSB.

“I would tell any of the students at Western, if they are not a business student to become one because they are doing some extraordinary things there. The professors and the administration are doing some pretty great things. Carol Roever does it all, but if I had to mention anyone I would say Dr. Larry Lawson had the biggest affect on my life,” Seth said.

Brittany Malone is a business student here at Western in her senior year and recognizes these amazing achievements.

“The RMCF operations have been very successful because the people involved have been successful at it; very evidently with Seth Lyons. I am currently in the entrepreneurship program and actually doing the business plan and expanding my baking skills,” Malone said.

Whether or not students will receive class credit for working in the St. Joseph store will depend.

“It depends on the nature of the student. There will be some that do, but others will be just workers at the store,” Nitse said.

Renovations and the live video connection will cost Western nothing. All the cost is being provided by RMCF and Steven Craig Nitse said.

Nitse believes it will be a worthwhile investment.
The projected opening of the store is around mid November and that’s all based on problems with construction, but at the moment the project is on target.

Nitse said this is not the same as the other stores.

“This is a totally separate operation. It is a joint effort designed to provide information for student training, but that’s about it,” Nitse said

Some of the proceeds coming back to the CSB will help fund other future programs.

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