HIGH POINT, N.C., April 22, 2014 – Senior Eugenia Copeland’s passion for an old family recipe secured her a spot as one of three finalists in the 2014 Business Plan Competition at High Point University. Using an all-natural, gluten-free recipe that melds a cookie and a granola bar, Copeland intends to open Masson Copeland Foods, a company specializing in making and selling the Masson Oat Stovie.
As the company’s trademarked tagline relates, Masson Copeland Foods specializes in “food fit for life’s journey.”
The recipe for the Stovie came from Copeland’s fifth great grandfather Thomas Masson, a ship captain in the early 1800s. Masson formulated the raisin and walnut recipe to prevent his crew from developing scurvy, rickets and other sicknesses. Generations of Masson-Copeland family members kept the original recipe intact, and the inclusion of the family crest dragon on the packaging underscores the Stovie’s rich familial history.
As a senior music major from Hudson Valley, N.Y., Copeland’s interest in the family recipe was instilled at an early age, though her childhood dreams didn’t necessarily involve wanting to start her own business. At 10 years old, she began selling Stovies at golf courses and train stations alongside her father.
“This whole journey started on a whim,” she says. “I didn’t even realize I had such a passion for entrepreneurship until I got into it.” In 2013, Copeland won the Phillips School of Business’ annual Elevator Pitch Competition with her Stovie idea, beating out a dozen seasoned student entrepreneurs and business majors. As a result, Prof. Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, HPU Director of the Center of Entrepreneurship, encouraged her to pursue a minor in entrepreneurship.
Copeland has already registered a trademark for the name “Stovie.” She will compete in Thursday’s Business Plan Competition for start-up funds she would use toward web design, production, marketing and advertising. Production will begin this summer, as Copeland intends to sell the Stovies at three Farmers Markets in New York starting May 10. The Stovie will then be distributed to cafes, coffee shops and gift shops in the Hudson Valley area in the fall. In four to five years, she hopes the Stovie will be on the shelves of food markets such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.
At the moment, the Stovie is only available in the original raisin and walnut recipe, though there are plans to expand selections into bittersweet chocolate chip and coconut flavors.
Copeland is excited to present her business plan at the competition. “I almost started crying when I found out that I was a finalist,” she comments. “Participating in this competition is pushing me to be ready for the real world.”
All three finalists will present their business plans to a panel of judges consisting of local business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors on April 24 at 9:30 a.m. in Norton Hall room 101. Business plans will be evaluated on multiple criteria, including financial feasibility, uniqueness of the product or service and clarity of the business model. The winner will be awarded up to a $15,000 cash prize.
The competition is sponsored by HPU’s Phillips School of Business, the Center for Entrepreneurship and BB&T.