On Friday, April 1, eleven Jackson college students and I teamed up in groups of three for a new event hosted by theCO: Eureka! Our mission was to create solutions for a local business. When asked to randomly select one of the four business options, I originally selected the Jackson Chamber but ended up with my second choice, Havner’s Frame Shoppe. My team and I were set to take on the challenge of making Havner’s more suitable for a young audience, and theCO’s atmosphere provided the perfect backdrop for a brainstorming session.We only had about twenty-four hours, three slides, and two other team members (mine including Joshua Guthrie and Amanda Rohde) to complete this challenge, as well as a mentor. We were fortunate to have Kevin Adelsberger of Adelsberger Marketing, whom we soon named our ‘Den Mother.’ Under his tutelage, we were able to blend the ideas of an art student from Union University, an engineer grad from the same college, and a public relations student from U of M Lambuth into one cohesive, workable plan. Adelsberger didn’t do the project for us, however. He had a very lassiez-faire approach to mentoring: feet up on tables, standing back, not overstating his thoughts.
We were able to pick the brain of Charlie Havner, Jr., to get a feel for what new ideas he had in mind. Havner’s is a building I pass every day on my way to school and work, but I had no idea the history or impact that it had on the community. We had the task of preserving three generations of history and framing it for an audience of college students, working professionals, innovators, and moms.
By day two, the competitive nature of the event began to kick in. A pool noodle contest got a little too intense, but the oversized bagels was just the energy boost needed for a longer day. Our Den Mother made it a point for us to go to the actual shop, get a feel for the company and owner, and see what could be done to help. This was just the muse we needed to complete the plan.
A few practice runs, a trip to Subway, and a wardrobe change later, we were set to compete. The collaboration of youthful knowledge with local business wisdom created a fresh energy everyone in the room could feel. Each group effectively created a solution to the problem at hand. This is something the city of Jackson needed.
Overall, the experience was a golden opportunity to utilize the skills we’ve learned in the classroom, rub shoulders with Jackson professionals, and help a problem the community is facing. My personal favorite part was getting to connect with our team members—hearing their life stories and what makes them so awesome. The biggest takeaway is that a heart that believes and a team that works together can achieve greatness. I would like to not let the vision created go by the wayside. Amanda’s idea for an art gallery will help bring a new kind of synergy to the city and build on the stories already told, while Josh’s sharp business sense must be put to practice in a capacity that empowers Havner’s to impact the city. And I, too, will use the skills given to me to tell the story of a family business nearly forty years in the making.
Written by Felicia Ingram.
Photos courtesy of Lisa Garner.