New businesses experience ups and downs

As many local businesses expand in a time of economic recovery, three of the newest Whitewater businesses have had mixed results trying to establish their operations.

Juniors Nicole Braun and Casey Poff enjoy a meal at Qdoba Mexican Grill. Three of the newest Whitewater businesses have experienced mixed business results. Photo by Michael Gouvion.

Qdoba Mexican Grill, Maurices and Beijing Buffet, all located west of campus on West Main Street, said positive things about running a business in Whitewater.

“Obviously the college is a huge draw,” Adam Beehler, Qdoba store manager, said. “Not simply because we have a giant student population here, but because of all the other associated events that go along with sporting [events] and fundraisers.”

Emily Rorem, Maurices store manager, agreed having a store in a college town is beneficial.

“Our target market is kind of the college-age [woman],” Rorem said. “I think in that sense it’s a good thing to have a retailer in Whitewater that tailors to the students.”

However, establishing a solid foundation under a new business is not always easy. Beehler said Qdoba is doing well and meeting expectations, but Can Zhang, owner of Beijing Buffet, said he expected it to go better than it has.

“So far we’re doing okay,” Zhang said. “I think I would expect a little bit more, so [we’re] not yet [meeting expectations].”

Beijing Buffet is looking to allow Purple Points for purchasing food, Zhang added.
Yet, with success comes challenges for each business.

“A lot of our customer base doesn’t have a lot of disposable income,” Beehler said. “That’s probably the flip side of working in a college town, especially one that is relatively job locked like Whitewater.”

Zhang said Beijing Buffet, which opened three months ago, was affected greatly by students going home over winter break and  cited this as the reason why the business hasn’t met expectations.

Qdoba, which opened Aug. 26, 2010, has a total of 20 employees, with the majority being UW-Whitewater students. Students usually work two or three days a week for three to five hours each day. Qdoba is not currently hiring, Beehler said.

Maurices, which was completed during the summer, employs nine people, five of which are current students and two alumni. Rorem said the business always accept applications and is currently looking for a summer intern.

Beijing Buffet has not been hiring people lately and has five full-time employees. It is also co-owned.

Rorem said she expects Maurices to get involved more in the community in the near future.

“We’re working on getting involved in Relay For Life and we’re really big in American Cancer Society,” Rorem said. “We do a lot of hometown pride events so I guess we’re just trying to get to know the community that our store is in.”

Zhang said if Beijing Buffet grows, it would expand its business in its current location.

Beehler said Qdoba is excited for the new educational center to open up in Milton so he can do business with them.

“Overall, we’re just going to continue to look for opportunities to grow our business,” Beehler said. “In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be rolling out something called ‘street tacos.’ That’s the first time we’ve done a brand new entrée in several years.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email