On September 22, a group of Chambers College business students traveled to Thomas, West Virginia, where they met with local business owner Morgan Smith to discuss the future of his art boutique, Bloom.
Established in 2014, Bloom sells clothing, stickers, art prints and other goods designed by working artists across the country.
While potential customers often stop in Thomas while visiting Canaan Valley, the town is located an hour from the nearest interstate, down winding country roads, and has a current p opulation of 623.
Hoping to boost his profits, Smith contacted Data Driven WV.
Data Driven WV's mission is to advance West Virginia’s economic development by allowing students to apply their academic knowledge in real-world settings.
Bloom provided the perfect opportunity for these students to put their talents to the test. Acting as consultants, they learned Bloom's business inside and out, touring the building with Smith and discussing the experience of a typical customer before sitting down with him for a look at the store’s digital presence. Throughout the visit, they made recommendations for ways to increase the store’s operational efficiency while maximizing profits.
Over the coming months, Data Driven WV will continue to monitor Bloom's progress and make suggestions that will help it succeed in its unique marketplace.
According to Data Driven WV Director Joshua Meadows, the relationship between the store and the students is mutually beneficial.
"We are focusing our projects on work that benefits not only a business, but our students," said Meadows. "The goal is to get points on these students’ resumes that will help them land jobs
farther down the line.”
By helping small businesses, the students will gain practical experience though the Chambers College "learning by doing" philosophy that is at the core of its mission, while supporting WVU's land-grant mission to serve the state.
CONTACT: Andrew Marvin
WVU John Chambers College of Business and Economics, Strategic Communications