Franchises Granted To MWSU Alums
By Michael Shaw, Staff Writer
Three alumni of Missouri Western State University have been awarded the opportunity to own and operate their own businesses through an applied entrepreneurship class in Missouri Western’s Craig School of Business. Two of the alumni – LaTricia Adkins and Leslie Patton – will operate Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory stores through an existing partnership with the company, based in Durango, Colorado. A third – Scott Lassen – will operate a Fresca’s Mexican Grill currently owned by Steve Craig, founder and president of Craig Realty Group and benefactor of the Craig School of Business.
Adkins, Patton and Lassen were among the students in a senior-level applied entrepreneurship course this spring. Finalists from the class created store business plans and presented their plans to an interview panel. Among the panel members were Mr. Craig, prior year franchise winners, MWSU faculty members, other business leaders, along with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory team members, including that company’s founder, Frank Crail.
LaTricia Adkins, from Kansas City, received a B.S. in Business Administration degree from Missouri Western in 2011. Ms. Adkins is currently a production control administrative assistant at Cryovac Sealed Air Corp. She will own a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Fresno, California.
Leslie Patton of Grain Valley, holds a 2008 B.S. degree in Business Administration & Finance from MWSU. She currently lives in Kansas City and is a client operations administrative associate for State Street. Ms. Patton and her boyfriend Rian Freidhof, also a Grain Valley native, will take ownership of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store in Tustin, California.
Scott Lassen is from Atchison, Kansas, and is a 2010 graduate with a B.S. in Business Administration from MWSU. The following year, Scott completed an M.B.A. from California State University-Long Beach. He is currently a department manager at Petco in southern California. Lassen will be an owner of the Fresca’s Mexican Grill in Woodburn, Oregon. Lassen is the first graduate to win a franchise in other than Rocky Mountain or Aspen Leak Yogurt.
Established by Steve Craig, MWSU and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, the program is designed to accelerate the pace of entrepreneurial training and development. In 2012, the program partners announced a significant expansion. Previously, the class and competition was only offered in the spring to graduating seniors in the Craig School of Business. Now, the program is offered in both the fall and spring semesters, and is also open to any alumni of the Craig School of Business. Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory provides initial capital for the stores, which the alumni pay back over a period of five years. The young entrepreneurs receive ongoing support from faculty members, the Craig School of Business Advisory Council and Mr. Craig himself. They are expected to donate a portion of their store’s proceeds back to the School of Business.
The latest winners join 12 other Missouri Western alumni operating stores in 10 states. The first winner, Seth Lyons and his wife Kelsey, made the final payment on their loan in 2012, less than three years after their store in Silverthorne, Colorado, opened.
For more information about the Craig School of Business, visit MWSU’s website at www.missouriwestern.edu.