Let’s Talk Business

By Kelsey Rowlson

Horizon Reporter

The room was bustling on Friday, Oct. 8, filled with excitement as Whatcom Community College’s business club kickoff prepared to begin.  Guest speaker Wes Herman mingled with the crowd as the anticipation built for his speech.

Each quarter, the business club features at least one guest speaker in order to teach their members more about business and hopefully draw in more people to their club.  This quarter’s speaker, Herman, CEO of The Woods Coffee, had a lot to teach.

The Woods Coffee brand was created eight years ago with their first store located in Lynden, Wash.  Today, there are nine locations with a tenth in the works, Herman said.  The Woods Coffee, along with Herman, has won a slew of awards during the short time they’ve been in business, includeing business of the year, green business of the year, business person of the year, and best of Western Washington.

Herman described the mission of his business as, “serve others, make a difference, have fun.”  He also discussed how Woods coffee is different from many of the other coffee shops in the “coffee saturated” Whatcom County.

Besides this event, the business club has much more planned for this quarter and the rest of the school year.  This quarter includes a field trip to Homestead Resort in Lynden and a bank officer guest speaker who will discuss commercial foreclosures. 

During winter and spring quarter, there will be a business Wheel of Fortune team competition, a bowling/social networking day, college bowl team competition, a bocce ball/social networking day, and an end-of-the-year/graduation party.

During the course of the school year, the business club also plays a virtual Stock Market Game.  With this game, each participant gets $100,000 of fake money to put into the virtual stock market. 

“It is a game,” said club advisor Merrianne Bieler.  “But the game is directly connected to the New York Stock Exchange.  All the prices are up to the second.  The research is up to the second.”  The idea is to get students comfortable with the stock market.  The person at the end of the year with the most money is the winner and gets an award at the club’s graduation event.

Besides these events, why do people join the business club?  Ellen Richards, 47, says she joined the club for extra credit for class, as well as, to get to know people and network.  “It’s always nice to be active in school,” she added.

The president of the business club, Michael Swift, 20, also adds, “The more membership, the more money.  The reason I joined the club is because it looks good and it’s more networking and gives you an idea how to network.”

Regarding Swift’s comment, Bieler said that with more money coming in, the club “can focus on other things besides just fundraising.”

A fun fact about the club is that the officers for finance, communications, and recorder are filled by students from three other countries: Russia, Japan, and Korea.

What about the cost?  The new member fee is $30 which includes the club t-shirt, Bieler said, and that after this $30 fee, students don’t have to pay anything else for the rest of the year.  Returning members pay the renewal membership of $20.

“Their benefit is they don’t pay for anything else down the line,” Bieler said.  “A new member would have to pay $1 per meeting and $5 per big event.” 

In the end, Bieler said the cost of the business club doesn’t deter people from joining.  “We have very loyal members,” she said.  “We had less people coming when we didn’t charge.”

 The business club motto is, “It doesn’t matter what you major in, you need to minor in business” and they seem to be living up to it.

The business club meets every 2 and 4 Friday of each month from 2 to 3 p.m. in Baker 114 (unless otherwise noted).  They welcome new members.  Just remember, if you’re not a member, bring $1 with you so that you can get into the meeting and also so that you can get a chance at half of the money earned at that meeting.

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