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JMU junior builds a business

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Most business majors wait until after graduation to start their businesses, but not James Madison University junior Scott Davidson. He thought fellow students needed something besides a pepperoni pick-me-up during late-night study sessions. So, he created Craving Cookies, an evening snack service.

Started last September, the business has exceeded expectations. Davidson and his crew of three students are now baking and delivering 500 cookies on week nights and 900 cookies on Saturday nights to fellow students, as well as to Rockingham County Memorial Hospital employees and Harrisonburg residents.

Most of the orders are taken online through a sophisticated e-commerce site (http://www.cravingcookies.org) that Davidson built (he’s minoring in computer science). Being able to order online particularly makes it easy for JMU parents, a targeted customer base, to nurture their children with a late-night surprise of warm cookies and milk.

“Cookies are just a classic treat,” Davidson says, noting that they’re easily consumed without interrupting study. “Everybody loves them, especially when they’re right out of the oven.”

At Craving Cookies, there’s plenty of cookies to choose from, including chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter and Macadamia nut, as well as an unusual weekly special, such as cranberry oatmeal and butter crunch toffee. Each cookie costs 79 cents, but delivery requires a minimum order of $7. Also available are packaged offerings of cookies, bottles of milk and cookie-dipping cups.

Being a student does pose a few limitations, Davidson says. He runs his business out of a rented town house, which necessitates the use of ready-to-bake frozen dough from Otis Spunkmeyer, a gourmet cookie manufacturer. He recently cut his hours to make time for some upcoming homework assignments.

Still, Davidson is hoping to open a storefront soon and expand into brownies and cinnamon buns. This summer, he ill start the process toward franchising the business so it can be expanded into other college towns. “I’ve got a lot of options right now,” he says. Presumably, one of those will be graduating from business school.


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