April 12, 2011
SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 11, 2011 — College can be stressful, especially for students living away from the comforts of home. For parents and family members looking to send a little comfort and love, a care package filled with food and supplies can go a long way.
The U Pack (www.theupack.com) is a new online college care package business offering parents a convenient and affordable way to send their loved one a care package.
The U Pack is more than just another online care package business. The assembly of each U Pack provides meaningful jobs for persons with disabilities. It’s also unique because it’s the result of an innovative partnership with local college students.
Back in January 2010, Springfield Workshop General Manager Chuck Bailey asked the Drury University Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) team to help develop and market the college care package business concept.
“We quickly recognized the project was a win-win. Partnering with Springfield Workshop fulfills our team’s mission to create economic opportunity while also offering a uniquely enriching opportunity for each SIFE student involved,” said Sarah Montgomery, director of Drury SIFE. Drury SIFE is a chapter of SIFE, which is a global network of college students working to create economic opportunity for people, businesses, and organizations in need.
The SIFE team has played an integral role in the creation of the U Pack brand and product line. Students have been involved in every step of the process, from surveying potential customers, assessing competitors’ products, product selection and the development of sample packages for market testing.
The U Pack is a project of the non-profit Springfield Workshop Inc. (SWI). SWI was created in 1966 by a group of dedicated parents looking to provide meaningful jobs for their children with disabilities. SWI currently employs more than 270 people with significant disabilities in the Southwest Missouri area.
Springfield Workshop has historically relied upon a small number of local companies to provide jobs. These jobs include things like labeling, shrink wrapping, and light assembly. “In the past, we’ve had major business partners move out of town, shut down, or automate job processes which meant the loss of as many as 15-30% of our jobs,” said Chuck Bailey.
In 2008, in an effort to create and protect new jobs while diversifying revenues, SWI decided to invest in the creation of its own business — Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs — by marketing and selling prepackaged bulk Easter Eggs online at www.sunnybunnyEastereggs.com. The business has been a major hit, selling millions of toy and candy filled plastic Easter eggs to churches and municipalities in all 50 U.S. states. Nearly 50 jobs have been created assembling and packaging the Sunny Bunny Easter Eggs.
This success has encouraged SWI to launch additional micro businesses. The U Pack launched with approximately 15 U Packs, each with different items and price points. The “Exam Pack 201” ($49.99) contains a wide assortment of essential study supplies and high-energy snacks to help fuel late night study sessions. The “Energy To-Go 201″ ($44.99) contains a wide variety of healthy, high-energy snacks like granola bars and trail mix perfect for snacking on the run.
Drury SIFE will now manage the marketing and promotion of The U Pack through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as other advertising channels.
The U Pack care packages will be available for purchase online at http://www.theupack.com and range in price from $30-$60.
Drury University SIFE is now in its fourteenth year of completing projects, which create economic opportunity in communities both locally and globally.
Chuck Bailey Sarah Montgomery
Springfield Workshop Inc., General Manager Students In Free Enterprise, Dir.
Office: (417) 866-2339 Office: (417) 873-6863
Mobile: (417) 824-0857 Mobile: (417) 766-0365
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