Rocky Maier, business administration-management major from Mobridge, McKenzie Watson, business administration-management major from Belle Fourche, and April Rypkema, business administration-marketing major from Rapid City, present their marketing plan for Pink 629.
A group of Black Hills State University marketing students recently turned their classroom learning into practical strategies for local businesses. The students, part of Dr. Wei Song’s retail management course, presented their ideas to four Spearfish small businesses in an attempt to boost traffic and sales.

“It is a win-win approach for our students to use local businesses for their marketing projects,” according to Song, associate professor of marketing. “It not only helps the students gain hands-on experience, but also benefits the businesses that need the marketing support.”

Projects like this give students the chance to be engaged in learning while blending theory and coursework with practical applied experience, Song said adding that these experiential learning activities also fulfill the University’s mission of providing service to the community.

The businesses included: Base Camp, an outdoor equipment and clothing specialty store; Dice to Mice, a full spectrum game store; Hudson and Main, a store specializing in home décor, unique gifts and women’s clothing and accessories; and Pink 629, a trendy clothing boutique.

The business owners, many who were present for the class presentations, welcomed the students’ ideas.

Brothers Andrew and Josh Barrett opened their downtown business Dice to Mice in May looking to fill a need in the community.

“They are very good at what they do and know what they are talking about,” said Jamie Miller, business administration–marketing major from Rapid City, during her group’s presentation. She also commented on their well-designed and current website as well as their use of social media. However, the group suggested the brothers increase their involvement and exposure in the community by hosting events, working with the local Parent Teacher Organizations to involve students, and joining the Downtown Business Association.

“We need to be more involved in the community,” Andrew agreed. “It is something that would be good for us.”

The group also suggested adding “Specialty Gaming Store” to their sign to emphasize the type of business they have and create brand awareness. Some people have been confused what Dice to Mice sells, thinking it is everything from a restaurant to a pet store. Andrew said their goal in coming up with the name was to create something that encompassed everything from old school board games to modern computer games. 

Aside from Miller, the Dice to Mice group included: Lindee Ensz, business administration–human resources management major from Emery; Tanner Duba, business administration–marketing major from Mitchell; and Carrie Lewis, business administration –marketing major from Spearfish.

The Basecamp student group included: Oscar Bengtsson, business administration–marketing major from Stockholm; Kayla Koerlin, business administration–marketing major from Rapid City; and Joshua Rundell, mass communication major from Rapid City.

The Hudson and Main group included: Darick Eisenbraun, business administration-marketing major from Wall; Caryn Hillberg, business administration–tourism and hospitality management major from Hartford; Levi Millikin, business administration–marketing major from Glendo, Wyo.; and Caleb Stanley, business administration–marketing major from Rapid City.

The Pink 629 group included: Rocky Maier, business administration–management major from Mobridge; April Rypkema, business administration–marketing major from Rapid City; and McKenzie Watson, business administration–management major from Belle Fourche.

Several BHSU faculty and staff members helped critique the presentations including: Dr. Bobbi Looney, assistant professor of management and communications; Dr. Ignatius Cahyanto, assistant professor of tourism and hospitality management; Helen Merriman, director of the South Dakota Center for Enterprise Opportunity (SD CEO); Brittni Skipper, SD CEO program assistant; and Dr. Jeffrey Wehrung, assistant professor of management and director of the Center for Business, Entrepreneurship & Tourism.