DaKine International Market wins fifth NextGen SPARK competition

PLAINVIEW, TX — Sabrina Geesey and Grace Macia have won a $5,000 prize to help accelerate the opening of DaKine International Market in Plainview after a team of Wayland Baptist University students successfully presented the top business model at the fifth annual Applied Entrepreneurship Competition.

“We are hoping that it will be open next fall,” Geesey said of the business that will include an international market, restaurant, and boba shop. “That is our goal, so that when students return, they have another place where they can gather, eat, and all come together as a community.”

WBU students Adam Uddenberg, Amber LaiWah Seay, and Jose Bucio Trujillo developed a concept for Geesey and Macia that unites the trio of offerings into a single Plainview business. Seay got the attention of the four-judge panel with a three-word opening — “We all eat” — before passing out culturally diverse treats and noting that foods reveal cultures. The model the students developed in association with Geesey and Macia includes offering a study place for students, karaoke nights, and other entertainment. A rewards program is also included.

“This will be a place to feel at home while you are traveling the world,” Seay told the team of judges and others gathered Monday Night in Nunn Auditorium.

Her team came armed with research on potential sales, distribution, and the unique diversity afforded by a trio of offerings that are “all things international.” They also came ready to respond to questions posed by Kristi Aday, executive director of Plainview-Hale County Economic Development Corp.; Kerry McCormack, Prosperity Bank; Hari Kotaiya, Comfort Suites; and Teresa Young, development officer with Wayland’s Office of Institutional Advancement.

The DaKine International Market team faced two competitors. Next Level Business Consulting was proposed by Sherril Weiss. Her second-place team presented a business model for a customer service training company that would offer business coaching, especially in customer service. The third-place team proposed a business model for A Cross in America Trail, which would sell posters of a montage of crosses photographed throughout the Plainview community.

In addition to the $5,000, the winning student team received $500. The second-place team received $250, and the third-place team won $100. Dr. Charles Starnes, Professor of Economics in Wayland’s School of Business, organized the NextGen SPARK competition and presented the awards.

“To my sister and I this is such a great honor for us,” Geesey said. “We are so excited that we were able to be a part of NextGen and Dr. Starnes’ amazing students that made the presentation and did all the work. This shows how Wayland Baptist University is culturing their students.”

Dr. Starnes described the five-year NextGen SPARK program as a way for the university to “reach out to the community and engage real entrepreneurs in a practical experiential way.”

A follow-up to the SPARK Business Accelerator created when the Cargill plant closed in 2013, NextGen SPARK has engaged students in entrepreneurial activity with the community through five years of competition. Dr. Starnes noted the success of previous winners.

“The second year, the winning business went on to double their sales,” he said. “One of the other businesses — Hope House — is continuing to provide services for the homeless community and is doing quite well. We had our Skaggs Building restoration last year, and they are using the funds they won to help renovate an office in that building that will be used as a starter seed for revenue for them to continue. This year we have the DaKine International Market, and I think that is going to be a hit.”