Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The pros of operating businesses in college towns

Eric Zenger owns nine Great Harvest Bread franchises in Utah and Idaho. I had the opportunity to sit down with Eric, his wife, his former business partner James Clawson (who owns Logan’s Great Harvest), and half a dozen students before his presentation at the Lectures in Entrepreneurship series.

Eric Zenger
It was a more intimate setting than a lecture hall. We got to ask them the questions we wanted and interact with them. We actually had a conversation, which is more than I get from most lectures.

During the course of our conversation, something interesting came up.

Most college students I talk to about their jobs or looking for jobs feel Logan, and other college town, are saturated with other kids looking for jobs, which makes it harder to get a job. And once you have one, you better make sure you keep it, because there are five more starving college kids who would take your place in a heartbeat.

I haven’t ever talked to an employer to see what they think about it, but the subject came up.

Eric and James both said they love opening and operating businesses in college towns because anyone who is going to school full time and is looking for a job is driven and hard working.

They both said they know some students are just looking jobs to get them through school, and that’s fine. They come to work, do their work, do it well, and leave. Someday, they’ll graduate and move on to better things.

But they can also tell when there are employees who come to work and really love their work; they’ve been thinking about it even after they’ve clocked out. Those are the employees that make a difference. They’re invested in the business, even though it’s just a job. Those are the ones they hate to see go.

And those are the ones who will go on to make a difference in whatever business they work for, or likely start, and run.

It was just interesting hearing how much they love running businesses in college towns.

It makes you think about what kind employee you are.

- Paul Lewis Siddoway

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