Pay to the Order Of: State Fair Entrepreneurs

We all get excited about new food and shopping opportunities at the Minnesota State Fair. The students in Pay to the Order Of have some creative and innovative new offerings for this August.

“Soviet Cakes is a tribute to the Soviet Union for helping us in World War II,” said Tate. The booth sells yellow cake cupcakes with yellowish and strawberry frostings and a raspberry on top. The store flies Soviet flags and includes outdoor and indoor seating.

Tate feels passionately about his business. “I wanted to do a tribute for something,” he explained. “The Soviets helped us in World War II against the Nazis, to help us not get taken over by Nazis. Hitler was a terrible person.”

Matthew pulled a detailed State Fair map out of his cardboard portfolio. “It’s right by the Mighty Midway,” he said, pointing to a prime location on the map. The team had also figured out the best places for customers to park.

While the cupcakes were Matthew’s idea, Tate ended up baking them. “I came up with the idea, but I allowed him to make them,” he said, pointing at Tate.

Willow contributed to the interior design of the business. “They allowed me to bring in some of my doll furniture,” she said. She showed me a fully apportioned bathroom and kitchen complete with necessary appliances.

For Tate, this is no childish fantasy. “In the future, I want to design the actual business of Soviet Cakes,” he said.

Kieran, Firdawsa, and Logan’s fair business is “a booth for ice cream,” Kieran said. “There is a cookie on top, a cookie on the bottom, and ice cream filling.”

They plan to call their booth, Cookie Sandwich. “We figure out how much profit we’re making, where we’re going to put our shop, and what it’s going to look like,” said Kieran.

Alec, Aiden, and Jackson came up with an entirely new business model for the State Fair.

“It’s based off the tabletop adventure game Dungeons and Dragons,” Alec proudly explained. “We’re selling things that have to do with the game.”

Fair goers can enter the business and join in at the gaming table. Alec and Aiden realized as they described the set up that it might be difficult to maintain the game at all times.

“We won’t always have an active campaign running,” Alec mentioned.

“We should have an hourly shift,” Aiden suggested.

The sales floor of the business is organized into categories. “Over here is ancient ruins to buy,” Alec said. They also run a daily talk show about gaming.

They have created a logo, picked monster nicknames, and planned a uniform to wear when they’re on duty.

Parker, Ava, and Elle have marketed their product – multi-colored elephants – to children. “They are sweets that are shaped as elephants, any treat you can think of,” Parker said. “Our target for buyers is kids.”

But unlike the other groups, profit is not a primary concern of their business. “We don’t really expect to make a lot of money. We hope we get money, but that’s not really our target,” Ava said. “We just want people to come, eat, and have fun.”

Eating and having fun – I think they’ve captured the true spirit of the State Fair experience.