Minot State University students will learn about success and failure at the Beaver Brew Cafe, said benefactor Clint Severson during a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday.
The coffee shop in Beaver Ridge Plaza is in existence thanks to a $1 million donation in 2010 by Severson that established the Clint Severson Entrepreneurship Academy at MSU. The fledgling business is intended to serve as a living learning lab for students in the entrepreneurship club, said JoAnn Linrud, dean of the college of business at Minot State University.
"Most people don't understand how hard it is to make money in a small business," said Severson during the ceremony.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Monday for the Beaver Brew Cafe. Minot State University student Jordon Lakoduk cuts the ribbon.
He said only about 5 percent of small business start-ups succeed. The rest fail because new business owners don't understand their market, haven't mastered the cost strucure or don't know how to motivate, train and inspire employees.
Students who are involved in the running of the Beaver Brew Cafe will have a chance to learn all of those lessons and may have a better chance at being successful entrepreneurs after graduation, said Severson, because they will have a better understanding of the subtleties of a successful business.
Severson said he has been involved in several start-ups and this has been the smoothest transition he has seen. He offered seed money for the start of the business, gave input and advice on its development. Severson said the students and Severson Entrepreneurship Academy director Chuck Barney did most of the work of turning the Beaver Brew Cafe from dream to reality.
MSU student Jordon Lakoduk, an assistant manager at the business, recalled how the club began planning during the fall 2011 semester what products would be offered and the initial floor plan. During the spring semester, Lakoduk kept tabs on the progress of construction of the coffee shop via Facebook and e-mail updates when he was studying abroad in Norway.
Students have been involved in the process of working with architects and contractors, in choosing products and a marketing plan and in staffing decisions and everything else involved in running a business.
The cafe opened on July 13 and has so far been successful, said Barney. The Beaver Brew Cafe is located directly across the street from Minot State University. It sells coffee brews, iced and blended drinks and smoothies and cookies and cinnamon rolls.
The coffee on sale at the coffee shop is roasted by Mojo Roast from Westhope. The coffee shop will also be selling items from Minot State. A stuffed version of the university's mascot, the beaver, will be for sale at the shop. Cookies from Cookies 4 U and rolls from B&D Market are for sale.
A big screen TV in the corner serves as a modern day jukebox at certain times of the day and customers will also be able to request certain YouTube videos to appear on the screen.
The shop is owned through the Minot State University Foundation. Entrepreneurship Club members act as an advisory board providing direction to the management and staff of the cafe. Proceeds from the coffee shop will be pumped back into the Clint Severson Entrepreneurship Academy.