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Goodwill, Tippie College of Business Students Cook Up Sweet Business Plan

This summer, the not-for-profit organization will sell Goodwill Great Cookies made by its clients in Goodwill of the Heartland retail locations as well as two Fareway grocery stores in Marion and Muscatine.

Seven MBA students from the Tippie College of Business who are part of the Business Solutions Center have worked with Goodwill leaders for the past six months to put together a marketing and operations plan for the project.

They presented their final recommendations on Thursday morning. During their hour-long presentation, they discussed next steps, target demographics, and price points.

The students also touched on making production operations more efficient and how to cut costs.

The monster cookies were first sold at Goodwill’s Muscatine restaurant Snackers2, which began selling them at the local Fareway. The restaurant closed earlier this year due to mounting costs.

The student-consultants talked with leaders about how to grow the Great Cookie business in Iowa and around the Midwest. But the hope behind the cookies is more than just bringing in a profit.

“It’s about employing people with disabilities and barriers,” said Ken Rizer, senior vice president of operations at Goodwill of the Heartland.

Goodwill of the Heartland, which helps people throughout southeast Iowa and the Quad Cities, helped about 8,200 people through its various workforce programs last year, Rizer said. It has two work centers in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids that also offer opportunities for those struggling to find jobs.

The cookies will be made at a production facility in the Quad Cities, which Dana Englebert, vice president of marketing, said was chosen for its easy access to the major transportation thoroughfares in Iowa and Illinois.

Six Goodwill clients will bake and deliver the cookies at first. But Rizer said that number will grow as profits do.

“We’ll employ as many as we can as long as we break even,” he said

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