Little conical bags, filled with nuts, and touting an image of a squirrel dunking an almond through a basketball hoop are beginning to make their ways into Marion County homes.
Marion High School sophomore Colin Williams and juniors Marissa Jacobson and Emily Davies started up their small business, “Nothin’ But Nut” candied nuts, just before Thanksgiving.
The project is part of their applied business class with Megan Thomas. They had been working on a comprehensive business plan since the beginning of the school year.
“We thought something consumable would be good,” Williams said. “Previous groups we saw struggled toward the end because their products lasted a long time, so repeat customers would buy it and it’d last a couple months before they’d have to buy it again.”
Williams said the nut industry seemed to be an unfilled niche for the area, and that with the holiday season upcoming, it was a promising opportunity.
“It works out pretty well,” Williams said. “We had Thanksgiving, and with Christmas coming up, they make pretty good stocking stuffers. We’ve also been thinking of ideas for Valentine’s Day.”
Central National Bank approved a loan for the students of $225 to help them get started. They would need to find recipes, order the nuts themselves online, as well as packaging materials.
“We’re well on our way to paying that off so far,” Williams said.
Jacobson works at Flint Hills Market and Bakery in Florence, and owner Jenny Lee gave the students permission to use their kitchen to create nuts if needed; the students also have access to a kitchen in the school’s family and consumer sciences classroom.
The trio can spend first hour each morning working on their business, either by preparing and packaging nuts in the kitchen or by working on finances or other matters in Thomas’s classroom.
“We have a lot of orders out right now,” Williams said. “We’ve actually been pretty busy.”
The group has marketed themselves online with a social media page. They also have paper order forms and a number to call to place orders.
The group said they’ve learned a lot from their experience, and that because none of them graduate this May, they’ll look to continue the business into next school year.
“It’s a lot of trial and error,” Jacobson said. “But I’ve learned a lot about business. It can be very stressful.”