Research by University of Wisconsin-Stout students could help the Chippewa Candy Shop in Chippewa Falls decide if adding a candy truck would be a sweet deal.
Lindsey Woodford, of Chippewa Falls, a business administration major who graduated Dec. 14, worked on the project that looked at possibly adding the candy truck to the business owned by her sister and brother-in-law, Amber and Dan Sweeney.
“They are at the point they would like to grow and plan what is next,” Woodford said.
The students, who included senior Kylie Hoff, of Barron, business administration, and applied psychology graduate student Kristin Utech, of Meldorf, Germany, studied labor costs and researched similar businesses in the area.
“The food truck industry is really busy in Eau Claire,” Woodford said. “There is no other candy truck in the state.”
The business could get by with a trailer and could sell candy at special events, including community events, birthday parties and weddings, Woodford said.
Creating the analysis for family members as part of the Business Management 490 class made Woodford and other members of the group strive to be thorough. “I am excited to present it to them,” Woodford said.
The candy truck was one of 160 research projects presented during the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management Student Expo showcase Dec. 12 at UW-Stout. More than 400 students were involved in the projects.
Ethan Muehlberg, a business administration major who graduated Dec. 14, also had a family interest in research for his entrepreneurship class. Muehlberg studied whether Boese’s Wood Fence and Supplies in Philipsburg, Mont., could treat its own fence posts rather than outsource the work to another company.
Muehlberg of Big Lake, Minn., was interested in the business because his grandfather, Glen Boese, has owned it for 25 years. Muehlberg also plans to work at the company and eventually own the family business.
“I think we will end up doing it, depending on financing,” he said. “We are always looking for ways to increase revenue and diversify. It’s exciting. I am looking forward to working for the company.”
Senior marketing and business education students Tanner Christopherson, of Ellsworth, and Allison Rigotti, of West Salem, for their entrepreneurship class researched starting a charter school called Willow River Academy. The school would focus on marketing and business and be another public school option in the Hudson area. The school also would tap into working with small businesses in the area.
“We just thought there are so many charter schools, but they aren’t really focusing on business,” Christopherson said. “Business is applicable to many other fields.”
A group of Engineering Technology 100 students researched and created a device that would attach a wheelchair to a shopping cart, allowing those with disabilities greater freedom to shop.
The students’ research found that wheelchair users often have to ask for help because they can’t push a shopping cart or are unable to transfer to an electric shopping cart, said Cody Stauner, a junior from Chetek majoring in psychology with a minor in manufacturing engineering.
“A lot of people said they wanted the independence to go shopping on their own,” Stauner said.
Their wheelchair-cart adaptor costs about $20 to make.
A student explains research on a standup wheelchair to Chuck Bomar, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Management.
Students Erik Johnson, at left, and Ray Kulow explain their research project the ‘Grabba.’