Students merge entrepreneurial startups

Wed, 2013-01-02 15:21 -- univcomm
Chris Peterson
January 2, 2013

“Since walking onto the campus of Anderson University, I have felt there has always been a push for all students to try to be creative, not only in their lives but with the majors they are pursuing,” said Chris Peterson, a senior marketing major and the Student Government Association president. Not only is Peterson the president of the student body, but he is also the president of MUGS Coffee and Tea, a coffee distributing company that was brought to AU last year.

BourgeaTEA, a popular student-run tea company, was recently acquired by MUGS Coffee and Tea in September. Chris Bourgea, a 2011 entrepreneurship graduate, founded BourgeaTEA in 2008, while he was a sophomore at AU.

[Photo: Senior Chris Peterson. Photo Credit: Janalyn Daggett]

Bourgea's startup was made possible through a business plan competition that he won, and from there he assembled a team of students to help him with graphics, a website, accounting, and other new business projects.

Mocha Joe’s started purchasing tea from Bourgea’s company, and now BourgeaTEA is an established brand on campus and online. “When Chris and I met, it was already clear that I was going to be involved in the company in some way,” said William Dietz, a junior marketing major. “A decision was made that I would purchase BourgeaTea from him once he graduated and continue the legacy that he started.”

Dietz took the title of CEO in May 2011 when Bourgea wanted to begin focusing on other projects. A few months later, Dietz was contacted by alumnus Kevin Huff, who was interested in starting a new coffee company, MUGS Coffee. The two met to discuss how the companies could benefit from one another.

“It was strategic for us to combine our efforts, resources, and knowledge so that we could grow as one unit,” said Dietz. Huff appointed Peterson as the campus president of MUGS Coffee and Tea. Through this arrangement, Peterson is able to expand his leadership abilities while providing Huff with first-hand knowledge of the company’s operations at AU.

“I have been the president of MUGS Coffee since it was created at AU,” said Peterson. “[MUGS Coffee] purchased BourgeaTEA and have brought their line of teas into the products that MUGS Coffee supplies.” The company as a whole has now moved from being MUGS Coffee to MUGS Coffee and Tea Company.

“When I first joined MUGS there was immediately support from the Falls School of Business faculty to help in any way they could,” said Peterson. MUGS Coffee and Tea is gaining new clients and continuing to supply current clients around Anderson, Central Indiana, and around the country.

“Our hope and dream is to have an actual retail location in Anderson within the next year,” said Peterson.

— Corinne Schmitt is a senior from Geneva, Ill., majoring in communication arts. Schmitt is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of about 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.