Flyer News reported in October that Flyer Enterprises, a student-run business at UD, would open a restaurant in the soon-to-open Arcade in downtown Dayton. The company has decided it will instead contract the space to an outside business, but it will still be student-owned. Cover photo of the proposed restaurant courtesy of Vince Lewis
With promising new divisions recently added, as well as a tweak to the company’s goal, Flyer Enterprises is looking hopeful for the 2020s.
As the nation’s fourth-largest student-run business, with over 200 student employees and 10 divisions, FE is looking beyond improving their bottom line numbers and emphasizing their company being an experiential learning tool for their employees.
Junior Nicolas Best, finance and management information major and chief financial officer (CFO) of FE, said that the company’s employees are looking to make themselves sought after candidates, from the executive team to the baristas at the Blend.
“The experiential aspect is unrivaled,” Best said. “We really focused this year on everyone understanding that this is a way to grow into the next phase of our lives and be very marketable and sought-after when we enter that.”
Cognizant of harsh years that their divisions have had, Best assured that FE is still very much concerned about their bottom line numbers. In 2018, Flyer News reported that FE’s coffee divisions had lost 3.3 percent in revenue, and in May 2019 the Jury Box, a café located in the Law Building, was shut down.
However, these setbacks haven’t halted FE’s plans to continue to grow. Heritage Coffee House launched new initiatives starting in 2019 to bring more students into their space, such as supplying 3-19 Coffee and providing tumblers to the incoming freshman class. Best said that it has been difficult to get younger students into Heritage, but the coffee house is moving in the “right direction” now.
“It’s hard to establish yourself when as a freshman and sophomore and you have Flex, you’re not going to go spend your own money,” Best said. “We are trying to do different things because when these students become juniors and they’ve gone to Au Bon Pain for two years, it’s really hard to pull them away from what they know.”
Best did not provide any numbers to follow up on the loss in revenue reported in December 2018.
Other divisions that continue to look promising for FE include Rudy’s Runway, an online bookstore that first started tailored to alumni, but has since grown to the student body as well. Since the previous article with Flyer News in 2018, Rudy’s Runway has launched its website and promises delivery to student’s doors within the same day of order if placed before 5 p.m.
Another newer division of FE is FE Digital, a small IT Consulting group that assists FE’s business partners. FE Digital has around four customers, and while it is not as established as Flyer Consulting, a separate consulting group on campus, the division offers experience in areas that student employees haven’t had before.
Another anticipated opportunity for FE is the space promised for them in the Arcade in downtown Dayton. While the original plan was to establish another student-run division, Best said that FE has come to the conclusion that with breaks in the academic schedule and some students not having constant transportation, it would be too difficult to staff another restaurant.
Instead, FE is looking into contracting the space out to another business, which still gives students in charge of the Arcade space real learning experience.
The goal is for the space to be open when the Arcade is scheduled to open this summer, however, there is not a plan on what will go into the space yet. Best said that FE has met with several different businesses, from pizza shops to ice cream parlors, and wants to make sure whoever uses the space is reflecting what FE stands for.
“We really want to find someone that we work well with and stands for not only what the Arcade stands for, but the Dayton community as well,” Best said. “I think it could be an amazing thing and a staple of the Dayton community.”
As FE continues to improve their numbers, they hope for their reputation to grow as well. The company wants to impact every student employee to help advance their career outside of UD.
Best himself has experienced this growth – starting out as a freshman at Heritage Coffee House to now about to finish his first year as CFO – and has “fallen in love” with everything FE has to offer. He, along with the executive team, hopes for all of their employees to be marketable as they leave Dayton’s campus into the “real world.”
“We are still very much concerned with and day-to-day trying to make decisions to change the bottom line,” Best said. “It’s still very much a part of it because, at the end of the day, we have to run a business well. But it’s (FE) for flyers and by flyers to serve the community. We want to keep sustaining and growing that.”