Students and Their Businesses

By Isabelle Stillman

Bakery at Crossroads Cafe

The school bake sales as you knew them pale in comparison to the kind of creative baked goods the student-run Crossroads Café are selling. From lemon-frosted blueberry cake to banana peanut butter finger cake, from white chocolate sweet potato cake to pumpkin bread, the range of pastries conceptualized and made by the baking team at Crossroads never stops expanding. Head chef of Crossroads Sandra Markowitz ’15.5 said, “Once we had an overabundance of coconut flour and so we wondered, ‘what are we going to do with all this?’ and so then we found a coconut banana bread chocolate chip recipe,” a melting pastry that now sells over the counter.

Creativity cooks here even without a kitchen. “The main difficulty is that the kitchen we have access to is the Grille’s—which isn’t a baking kitchen,” Markowitz said. “They’ve been really helpful in supplying us with the things we need. They have a good oven, they have whisks, and I’m hoping next to ask for bundt cake pans!”

Pastries sell by the slice here, but they can also be bought whole. Because it takes four hours to bake a cake, chefs would optimize and take to baking three cakes on Sunday—two of them decorated for Crossroads and the third replica would be sold whole. Markowitz says that the difference between buying here and buying pastries at Carol’s is that “you don’t know the person baking them. It’s a chance to support someone and their passion here, and I think that’s a really great thing.” Food, and all the creativity that goes into it, doesn’t get any more local than this.

Prices: $1.25-$3.25

Contact: [email protected]

Team Members: Sandra Markowitz ’15.5 (Head Chef), Mariah Levin ’16.5, Georgia Wei ’16, Birgitta Cheng ’17, Connor Bentivoglio ’15.5

Wash & Carry

Since 1987, Middlebury men’s hockey team has been running Wash and Carry, a laundry washing and delivery service. Serving about 200-230 people per year, Wash and Carry picks up your laundry once a week in a special bag outside student’s doors, transports it to Mountain Fresh Cleaners where the laundry is washed, dried and folded, and returns the laundry in the evening. This one-day service takes about nine players doing ten shifts to get the job done. Wash and Carry is not exclusively a hockey team job but the company was founded by a men’s hockey player and since the ‘80s has been passed down through the team because, in the words of current head Thomas Freyre ’14, “it’s easier to trust someone to do their job when they’re a teammate and close friend.” Freyre, who will be passing his leadership on to David Loughborough ’16 next year, says, “Sometimes things take longer than you’d like but mistakes are part of learning how to run a business. I like to think at the end of the day people feel like we tried for them and they had a positive experience.”

Prices: $425 for laundry service once a week for the year; $290 for every other week for the year

Contact: [email protected] or visit middleburywashandcarry.com

Team Members: Middlebury Men’s Hockey & friends

Summer Spillane Haircuts

Summer Spillane ’15 has been cutting hair since her first year on campus. A self-taught cosmetologist, Spillane started learning the trade of haircutting through YouTube tutorial videos before she decided to pick up a buzzer and cut clean the hair of her male friends. But since then, she’s gotten more practice. “I started out with close friends who trusted me with their hair but have expanded my client base as word spread. I have more experience with short styles but I really like working with long hair.”

She has dealt with a client range of personalities from laid-back to people very particular about their hair. “I’ve invested my name,” she said. “My name is going to be attached to the style, so as much I love talking and getting to know people I’ve never met, I focus. I always want them to like it.” Students who don’t want to trek out to town go to Spillane for a cheap cut. Since she is not a licensed professional, she accepts tips. For a small tip, you’ll get “the full treatment, blow-out and finished product.” Want the view from a barber’s chair and the full experience of the wearing a plastic styling cape? She’s got that too.

Prices: $5-$10 (plus tip)

recommended

Contact: [email protected]

Team Members: Summer Spillane ’15

Otter Delivery

“I hatched the idea while assembling a TV stand early in the school year,” said Teddy Gold ’16 of the nascence of Otter Delivery, a new student-run delivery service launched this semester. “I realized that the stand needed a screwdriver and I, along with the entirety of Gifford, did not have an adequate screwdriver.”

Though in this incident, Gold fell prey to the ease of Amazon delivery, the situation sparked an idea and has grown ever since.

Otter Delivery’s business model took its full shape in Gold’s J-term class, Midd Entrepreneurs, with the help of visiting Professors Andrew Stickney and Dave Bradbury, as a simple call and response system. Customers email or call in orders—Gold cites “diapers, a birthday cake, brownie mix, shampoo, local cheese from Scholten family farmstand or pizza at an hour when Ramuntos doesn’t deliver”—and items are delivered by around 5 p.m., with a $5 surcharge per business visited.

Otter Delivery receives ten to fifteen orders a week, which are handled by Gold and Brandon Gell ’16, the company’s marketing director. At this point, the business is manageable with two “otters,” or deliverers, but Gold hopes to expand in the near future.

The next step is developing a website and app through which customers can place orders, and which can then allow the franchise to expand to other NESCAC schools, where friends of Gold are interested in drumming up business.

Gold and Gell believe the model is sustainable and beneficial to small town college life.

“Amazon is easy, convenient, and omnipresent,” Gold said. “But nowhere in the Amazon equation does anyone account for the brick and mortar, mom and pop shops that drive local economies. At the very heart of Otter Delivery is convenience for customers and support for local economies.”

Prices: $5 per store visited (plus cost of item)

Contact: [email protected]

Team Members: Teddy Gold ’16, Brandon Gell ’16

Middorm

Extra long twin size beds seem to be an unavoidable aspect of residential life on campus, until you meet the minds behind of Middorm, Jack Steele ’16, Dylan McGarthwaite ’17 and Eliot Neal ’17. Inspired by a friend’s similar endeavor at Dartmouth College, Steele co-founded the bed buying business at the beginning of his first year. The company rents full size beds and futons for semester or full year terms.

“Crazy comfort” is the company’s goal, according to Steele, and its one that has found great success across campus, as rentals almost doubled this year. Middorm’s model is simple: an all student email over the summer informs Midd kids of rental options, and the team delivers the order at the beginning of the term.

With business growing steadily, the company is committed to consistent comfort across campus.

Prices: full size beds at $250 for one semester or $399 for the year; futons at $150 for one semester or $250 for the year.

Contact: middorm.com

Team Members: Jack Steele ’16, Dylan McGarthwaite ’17 and Eliot Neal ’17

Morning Glory

Ever find that dining hall brunch simply won’t cut it? Morning Glory seeks make breakfast a gourmet experience. A Gamut Room gig started by Olivia French ’16 and Caroline Decamp ’14, Morning Glory sells breakfast sandwiches from 11 am to 1 pm on Saturday mornings for only a dollar! Morning Glory was born last spring out of French’s sampling of regional cuisines abroad and the desire on behalf the former roommates to spend time together in a new way. Now, the pair serves up savory breakfast sandwiches such as the Cleopatra (a breakfast sandwich with roasted red pepper and eggplant, garlic yogurt sauce, fried egg, feta, and cilantro) and Pillow Talk (bacon, caramelized onion, arugula, maple vinaigrette, fried egg, and cheddar), debuting new recipes each week inspired by food blogs, travel and their favorite restaurants.

“It is important to us that each recipe is original,” emphasizes French, however, who wrote a local foods inspired cookbook for her senior thesis. “We have a lot of fun deciding what veggies, cheeses, herbs, and meats to use on our sandwiches each week, and make sure to change it up–for both our customer’s enjoyment and our own.”

The pair, which describe breakfast sandwiches as “a wonderful canvas to experiment with new flavor combinations,” concoct about 50 handmade creations each Saturday to sell. French and Decamp have no plans as yet to continue Morning Glory after their graduation this spring. Students interested in keeping up with Morning Glory’s gourmet recipes, however, can check out the blog French is starting this summer called the Foodie and the Farmer, featuring photojournalism profiles of food workers like farmers and chefs and original recipes based on their stories. In the meantime, hit this delicious deal while it lasts!

Prices: $1 per sandwich

Contact: [email protected] or [email protected]

Team Members: Olivia French ’14, Caroline DeCamp ’14