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Dorm Drinks experiences sales spike

Katie Peralta | Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two years ago, then-sophomores Adam Hansmann and John Jeffrey, both enterprising business majors, created Dorm Drinks, hoping simply to provide a service to their fellow on-campus students.

Dorm Drinks today is arguably the most successful student-run business at Notre Dame.

The drink delivery service sells non-alcoholic beverages and snacks to students through an online ordering system, Hansmann, Dorm Drinks CEO, said. Dorm Drinks makes deliveries twice a week, Wednesday and Sunday, and currently employs six students to make deliveries.

Whereas Dorm Drinks previously only provided beverages, it has expanded to selling “everything from candy, gum, pretzels and other bulk items [purchased from Sam’s Club,]” Hansmann said.

The service, he said, saves students from the high prices of the Huddle Mart and building vending machines.

“A lot of factors created space for us,” he said. “It’s inconvenient to go off campus [to shop for refreshments] and the Huddle prices really drive our sales.”

Water, which, Jeffrey said, constitutes about 65 percent of total sales, can be purchased at the Huddle and in most University vending machines for $1.35, but Dorm Drinks sells bottles for what ends up being about 25 cents each.

Hansmann said Dorm Drinks recently cut its marketing budget but has doubled its sales this semester. This fall, he said, the business provides service to over 300 different students and has generated over $10,000, as opposed to its approximately 75 customers and $600 in sales in its first semester of operation.

“With the cost of the product, gas and employees, we still gross a couple thousand dollars per semester,” Jeffrey, Dorm Drinks CFO, said. “It’s good spending money.”

Jeffrey said he attributes the growth of the business to the loyalty of the customer base.

“The growth has been phenomenal,” he said. “Most customers order at least two times a week. We have a backbone of 25 to 30 subscribers that constitute about 20 percent of what we do.”

Hansmann and Jeffrey hope the success of Dorm Drinks as younger students take over next semester.

“A couple guys [sophomores Tyler Hudson-Crimi and Richard Gonzalez] will take over in January,” Hansmann said.

Hudson-Crimi and Gonzalez, both sophomore business majors who have been making Dorm Drinks deliveries, are excited to take over after break.

“We’re very enthusiastic to continue the tradition of passing on the savings of purchasing off-campus to on-campus students while simultaneously providing the convenience of door-front delivery,” Hudson-Crimi said.

Hansmann and Jeffrey both said they will oversee the business in its transitional phase for a while.

“We really want to see it stay [at Notre Dame,]” Hansmann said.

Hansmann and Jeffrey both said the experience of running a business has helped them in their professional aspirations.

“It’s given me an entrepreneurial spirit,” Hansmann said. “It made me enjoy business more than my classroom experience. It was also a huge résumé boost.”

Jeffrey echoed Hansmann’s sentiment.

“It gave me an edge in all interviews,” he said. Next year, he said he will “do something similar to this but on a larger scale.”

Jeffrey will work for Macquarie Capital in Chicago and Hansmann will work for McKenzie in New York.