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Students help local business owners learn about consumer trends

Students and businesses working together? It’s an ideal situation.

The owners at F.L.X. Fry Bird wanted to know more about their customers. They know plenty about chicken, as their successful business model suggests.

However, to learn more about their customers – the thriving Linden Street business turned to a Hobart and William Smith senior capstone class.

“The capstone class is an opportunity for students to participate with real business owners and address real problems,” said instructor and Entrepreneurial Fellow Ed Bizari to the Finger Lakes Times. “It gives them an opportunity to try, fail and adjust throughout the process, which is so much of what entrepreneurship is about.”

Fry Bird general manager Maddie D’Amico said the goal of the project was to learn the differences between locals, tourists, and students. The students worked in groups to address management questions, and to learn more about the trends that impact the business.

Student Joseph “Willie” Paul, a political science major, was in the group that looked into the tourist market for the Seneca Lake area, The Times reported. “This project taught me firsthand how important it is to go out and talk to customers to see what they want in a product or company,” he told them. “I learned how important it is for you as a ‘consultant’ to buy into a project and really dig deep to find solutions to the company’s problems, because that is their livelihood and business.”


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