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ONU Introduces Student-run Business: Polar Merchandise

Polar merchandise press confOhio Northern University introduced Polar Merchandise, the University’s first student-run business, during a press conference on Tuesday, April 13.

Polar Merchandise will sell branded merchandise with optional personalized graphics on more than 200,000 branded products. The company aims to provide students with a laboratory experience in the business world. In developing and executing every aspect of the company, including sales, marketing, budget management, legal issues and financial reporting, students will gain valuable project management skills.

At the news conference, James Fenton, dean of the James F. Dicke College of Business Administration, said the program offers “real world business application,” and praised students’ involvement in the project from the start.

Polar Merchandise was founded as a partnership between ONU’s entrepreneurship program and City Apparel in Findlay, Ohio. Andrea Kramer Fetterman, vice president of City Apparel, and Charles Lightner, marketing director for City Apparel, approached ONU’s James F. Dicke College of Business Administration about starting a student-run business in 2008.

“Our organization has always been community-minded,” said Fetterman, a 1997 ONU graduate. “We enjoy giving back and providing a learning environment for students as well as a profit, whether that profit is in dollars or in experience.”

Natalie White, a senior marketing major from Columbus, Ind., Jared Everline, a senior management major from Canton, Ohio, Kathleen Sponseller, a senior management and marketing major from Payne, Ohio, and Dan Otanicar, a senior accounting and pre-dentistry major from Wadsworth, Ohio, make up the company’s management team. White will serve as CEO.

City Apparel distributes nationally to business and industry, specializing in corporate-branded merchandise and apparel.