NNU senior wins Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Posted by: Melinda Dorning
From the Northwest Nazarene University News on May 6, 2015, 2:56 pm: http://www.nnu.edu/news/2015/05/06/nnu-grad-wins-rocky-mountain-chocolate-factory-franchise/
Spring semester, three NNU seniors participated in a course titled “Franchise Venture,” which tasked each student to prepare a business plan for a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise.
On Tuesday, May 5, the three students presented those plans before an eight-judge panel that included Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Founder and CEO Frank Crail. Following the presentation, the panel selected a winner who received his own Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory franchise located in Petaluma, California. After a short but difficult deliberation, Ben Circeo was announced as the franchise recipient.
Circeo, a financial economics major from Mill Creek, Washington, said, “I’m overwhelmed. One reason I came to NNU was the size of the business program and the opportunity to work closely with the professors. Drs. Crabb and Chaplin have both been great and have built up my confidence and skill. Even faculty members not in my major have invested in me here.”
When asked what made Circeo’s presentation stand out, Frank Crail said, “Ben is very energetic, enthusiastic and well spoken, and he has a very good plan. I have no doubt he is going to excel.”
Circeo participated in a special commencement ceremony Tues. night specifically for athletes and then leaves for baseball playoffs in Billings, Montana on Wednesday. When asked about steps after graduation, he said, “Next, I get to go home for a bit. Then I’m headed to Durango, Colorado for franchise management training with a projected open date for my franchise of July 15.”
Casey Crail, Field Consultant for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, was another of the eight judges. He is also an NNU alumnus and member of the NNU Business Advisory Board. Crail commented, “We are delighted to partner with NNU on this initiative to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in graduating seniors and to give them a platform for developing real experience in the world of business ownership. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has a passion for entrepreneurship because it’s the backbone of our franchise business model, so providing an opportunity to own and operate an actual store location for a bright NNU student is a real treat.”
Frank Crail concluded, “I’ve had four of my own kids graduate from NNU, and they’ve all had excellent experiences. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has had a program like this at Missouri Western, and the event today is the culmination of many months of planning to bring the same opportunity to Northwest Nazarene University. There were three great presentations to choose from, and the hardest part is picking only one. We hope this will be the first of many years of offering the [franchise competition] program at NNU.”
Established in 1981 and headquartered in Durango, Colorado, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory operates as an international franchisor with operations in the United States, Canada, Japan, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company continually strives to cultivate excitement and appeal in the confectionery industry.
The mission of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory highlights the importance of giving back to the community and currently supports 13 national and local organizations that work to better society. With the number of stores approaching 350 worldwide, the potential for an NNU student to own and operate a franchise location is a unique opportunity.
For more information, contact Rob O’Donahue at 208-761-5644.
PHOTO CAP 1: Circeo shakes hands with Dr. Ron Galloway, instructor of the franchise venture course.
PHOTO CAP 2: Pictured from left to right: Mark Wheeler, NNU associate vice president of advancement; Frank Crail, founder and CEO of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Ben Circeo, franchise winner; Casey Crail, field consultant for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory; Ron Galloway, NNU associate dean of academic affairs.