National Small Business Week is celebrated each year during the first week of May. The Campbell University Alumni Association celebrates alumni-owned businesses through its Orange Owned program. Read along as we share how these Orange Owned business credit their Campbell education to helping them succeed as small business owners.
Traci Davis, ’12
Traci Davis, owner of Bad Cat Coffee Co. located in the Morgan Street Food Hall, credits her Campbell experience for giving her the confidence and skillset to open her own business. Traci states, “The classes I took at Campbell University helped me learn what it takes to run a good business. In-depth classes in accounting and economics equipped me with knowledge that is the basis of my everyday business decisions. Also, being challenged by my professors to bring my best to my studies built my confidence.”
Amanda, ’11 and Melvin McRae, ’16
Mobile (Harnett County, NC)
Part of a husband and wife team and a family of Campbell alumni, Amanda McRae shares her army background and Campbell degree worked together to help her succeed in customer service. Amanda states, “My time with Campbell prepared me in many ways. My army background was in management but my Campbell degree was in psychology. It gives me the perfect headspace to manage our business but also be there for our customers. Team members often comment on how I interact with our customers and how they could never do what I do. Sometimes they just need a little extra time and attention. Even on the busiest day I do not mind giving it to them!”
David Gantt, ’81
David Gantt didn’t expect to start his own law practice right after graduation. However, he found himself in a situation where it was worth the jump. David states, “From the day they opened their doors, Campbell Law School offered some courses that focused on the logistics of starting a new law office. While I didn’t think I would start out this way, I took note of some of these offerings. I remember attending several seminars that helped students envision the basic considerations and decisions they would need to ponder in starting a new business. I appreciate Campbell’s audacity and belief that they could offer a legal education that rivaled the established law schools in NC. I think some of this “can do” attitude rubbed off on me and gave me the confidence to “hang my own shingle” and start my law business. Campbell Law School seemed to understand while they couldn’t be superior on prestige or historical glory when they opened their doors, so they emphasized training law students to be ready to jump into the practice prepared for immediate action. As the years have passed, I recognize and appreciate the edge I had compared to other law graduates who did not receive this “hands on” training.
The late Professor John Broderick was particularly supportive of my plan to move to Asheville, where I had no connection with the legal community. Dr. Broderick inspired me to believe I could succeed wherever I set up practice. Dr. Broderick and Dean Pat Hetrick helped me believe that starting a law office offering good service and respectability was possible and a good investment for a young lawyer.”
Erin Schultze, ’14
Erin Schultze always knew she wanted to open her own business but she didn’t always know it would be photography. During her time at Campbell, a friend of hers asked her to capture engagement photos around campus knowing that Erin had a good quality camera. From there her small business grew. Erin states, “The photography industry is saturated, so my BBA with a concentration in Marketing taught me the importance of a strong brand identity and social media presence. It also taught me how to professionally operate a business from filing taxes to forming an LLC. I am so thankful I chose to attend Campbell.”
Sarah Roberson Cummings, ’17
Sarah Roberson Cummings launched her business while a student at Campbell University. Doing so, she was able to use her education to start a strong foundation for her business, The Readheaded Camel. Sarah states, “I started my business DURING my time at Campbell. I was a rising sophomore and actually pressed “open shop” on my Etsy shop while sitting in the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. Throughout my time at Campbell, I was able to use my classes in the School of Business as a “case study” and apply practical knowledge to theoretical situations, which enhanced my education so much. Now, with a degree in business, I am armed with so much knowledge on the ins and outs of business, along with confidence in marketing and management, and am literally watching my business grow because of what I learned at CU.”