A Winning Business Plan Brews Up Community and Kombucha


Neighborhood Kombuchery Growlers

Neighborhood Kombuchery Growlers Photo courtesy of Alex Heflin

Kombucha fans who had dabbled in homebrewing, Andrew Rhodes, aerospace engineering student and Carissa Herman working in marketing, discovered a co-op that sold kombucha on tap while traveling. That sparked the idea that Morgantown, WV needed a venue that brewed and served kombucha on tap. The downtown area of this college town is filled with cafes, restaurants, a farmers’ market, and monthly art walks that now host pop ups of the Neighborhood Kombuchery tents and restaurants with taps of their own for refilling growlers or complementing the meals they serve.

 Andrew Rhodes and Carissa Herman of Neighborhood Kombuchery

Andrew Rhodes and Carissa Herman of Neighborhood Kombuchery Photo by Joel Wolpert

Andrew, a PHD candidate at West Virginia University at the time, submitted his business plan to the West Virginia Business Plan Competition and was one of the winners. Open to West Virginia high school and college students, the competition is hosted by WVU John Chambers College of Business & Economics and the Enova Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Winners of the competition are given cash prizes and the expertise of the institution and seasoned professionals across the country to bring their business plans to life. Rhodes used the resources to write the business plan and received assistance in editing and finetuning his plan from the business incubator at WVU, Launch Lab, staff. After two previous attempts at a winning business plan, Rhodes won on his third try. After winning the competition and starting the business, Rhodes returned to present to subsequent competitors to share his experience of launching a business from his winning plan.

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