Loyola PMBA students launch tree delivery services for the holidays
Dan Sharkey and Mike Hoppe, students in Loyola’s Professional MBA program, were giving out candy on Halloween when their thoughts turned toward another holiday. Before they knew it, Tree Me, a Christmas tree delivery service, was born. It started when Mike mentioned that people get everything delivered these days, and their roommates, now business partners, Luke Benko and Matthew Smith, all agreed there would be a market for this service.
Tree Me offers Christmas tree delivery for those who don’t want the hassle of buying and setting it up themselves. Consumers can choose different package options ranging from delivery only, delivery and set-up to tree disposal at the end of the holiday season. Tree Me also offers three different types of trees including Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir and Balsam Fir.
One week after the original business idea was discussed, Dan researched what creating a website would entail and quickly developed one. The site and business were up and running before Thanksgiving and profitable within a month of the concept.
Dan and Mike felt they had the right tools to create the business as a result of the courses they had taken at Sellinger. "I have learned to identify and focus on our core competencies from the start,” said Dan. “We decided our wide range of services andproducts would set us apart from our competition.”
Although they wanted to offer every option possible, they had to focus their efforts on value added services. Dan acknowledged their biggest hurdle next year would be achieving the maximum amount of efficiency. "My operations classes have helped me identify opportunities to decrease process time, therefore, increasing capacity.”
Consulting his peers, he approached his operations class for feedback on his business growth for next year. “Some of their ideas have already been put into production,” he said. "I have a marketing class starting in the spring so it will be another facet and opportunity for improvement, and I look forward to receiving advice from my classmates.”