Posted: Thu, 05/10/2012 - 2:38pm in Alumni
When Jason Neuerburg and business partner Aaron Holthaus embarked on their latest adventure, they went back to school . . . looking for student creativity.
Neuerburg, a 1991 alumnus of St. Cloud Technical & Community College’s advertising and design program, wanted to give current students of the program what he calls, “a real-life opportunity they could really grab ahold of.”
What they grabbed ahold of . . . was a cone.
Neuerburg went to The Northway Group, a student-run advertising agency at the college. He asked them to come up with a name and logo for the new business – a seasonal fast-food restaurant that offered hot and cold treats in a cone. As he puts it, “They exploded with ideas.”
“Most clients come to us looking for logos, letterhead, and things like that,” says Tracy Hieserich, who served as the student account executive for the client and graduates this May from SCTCC. “We just kept asking ‘Do you mind if we do this?’”
‘This’ ended up being a logo and tagline -- Cone Castle: Everything you’d ever want in a cone -- and so much more.
The students took part in the creation and taste-testing of products (including hundreds of shakes and ice cream syrups like cotton candy and wedding cake). They did taste-testing for the development of Cone Castle’s signature pizza cone and spuds. They also designed the building, conducted photo shoots, and created the store signage, menus, and electronic kiosk ordering system.
On May 7, Cone Castle opened for business in St. Joseph, Minnesota, a small college-town on the outskirts of St. Cloud. The students were there . . . cones in hand (pizza and ice cream cones, that is). The moment was bittersweet.
"I talk about Cone Castle a lot,” Tracy says. “We don’t want to let it go. We don’t want it to stop.” Cone Castle definitely is a portfolio piece to share with prospective employers, and family and friends in the mood for a real treat.
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