From the whir of blenders to the tropical music sounds coming from a set of speakers, the IWA cafeteria was transformed into a beach-side beverage shack on Nov. 6, 2019, which marked the grand opening of Slush N' Rush. The students in IWA's Leading with Business class launched the company after half a semester of planning and research.
"We knew we wanted to do some kind of food item," said Madeline Taylor '21, who is part of Slush N' Rush's operations team. "People really like those."
The idea came about after the class brainstormed on what product they could sell. Once the students latched onto a slushie drink business, there were several other things to be considered: what flavors to serve, how to get necessary inventory items like cups and the umbrella garnishes, who would make the drinks, how much to charge for them, and more. Navigating those details gave the girls an invaluable lesson in what it takes to create a successful business.
Four different teams manage Slush N' Rush. The product development team is responsible for developing the recipes used for the drinks, as well as determining how large a serving should be and ensuring that the drinks taste the same every time they're made. Two flavors are offered, blue raspberry and cherry limeade. Members of the finance team keep track of cash coming in from the slushie sales, as well as making projections on how much the business needs to earn to pay back the loan of seed money it was given by IWA. The marketing team takes care of generating buzz about the business, which can include everything from designing posters advertising sales dates to developing promotions to get the IWA community excited about the drinks. Operations, meanwhile, handles all the day-to-day business aspects such as cup inventory and ensuring the other teams have the materials and resources they need to succeed.
"I really like this class and the experience of building the business," said Audrey Hudson '21. "Just the process of talking through how we were going to build it has been great, and I liked working as a team to make it happen. I'm not sure I could do it on my own."
"It's really fun," said Randi McBride '21 about being part of Slush N' Rush. "But the planning can be stressful. I joke that I feel like I'm at a 9-to-5 job. But this really teaches you to work with other people. You realize that not everyone thinks like you."
Te business has been successful so far. During the company's soft opening, the girls sold 40 slushies. On the official grand opening on Nov. 6, they sold 69 more. The student body — and some of the faculty and staff, too — has responded favorably to the business.
"I love seeing students take pictures with their slushies and sharing them on social media," said Madeline.
Slush N' Rush will be open for business every Tuesday and Thursday after school in the IWA cafeteria. Slushies will be sold until early December.