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Scooters Coffee Partners With Nebraska to Create Innovative Franchise Course

Students to Work with Company CEO and Franchisees
Scooters Coffee Partners With Nebraska to Create Innovative Franchise Course
University of Nebraska–Lincoln students in the introductory franchise course toured Scooters Coffee headquarters in Omaha. The growing drive-thru coffee franchise company has partnered with the Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Scooter’s Coffee®, one of the nation’s fastest growing drive-thru coffee franchise companies, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Center for Entrepreneurship are partnering to offer students a new hands-on advanced franchise course. Aimed at those interested in diving deeper into the relationships, values and problem-solving skills of franchising, the innovative course will launch in spring 2025.

"There is something special about where students are now in their lives. It’s important to support and guide them. Many don't know there is a huge opportunity in entrepreneurship and franchising," said Don Eckles, who co-founded Scooter’s Coffee in 1998 with his wife, Linda.

Nebraska relaunched the franchising program in the spring of 2022, with the help of Lindsay Thomsen, assistant professor of practice in management and director of business development for the Center for Entrepreneurship. She designed the introductory course, Franchising (MNGT 425) and rebooted the Nebraska Franchise Club with help from an impressive lineup of speakers including current Scooter’s Coffee CEO Joe Thornton and former CEO Todd Graeve, '92, a Nebraska accounting graduate.

"The number of students in the introductory class has doubled. With this growing interest across the university campus from students in any major, we want to offer more opportunities so students can continue exploring either a future investment or career in franchising. Thanks to the generosity and support from Scooter’s Coffee, we can create and offer a second class to delve deeper into franchising with an experiential, hands-on approach," said Thomsen.

Students in the advanced course will work directly with Scooter’s Coffee franchisees to explore entrepreneurial problem-solving as business owners. They also will read "The Power Of Or: Choosing and Doing What Matters Most," authored by Thornton and discuss the book in-depth with him in person.

"The most important thing I see when I interact with students is passion. I love the level of commitment that people have at this stage in their young careers. It's inspiring," Thornton said.

He added that his book includes a chapter on multitasking that is very relevant today, especially for college students.

"There are some life lessons in the book, but it's mostly to help people build their own business, their own brand, their own leadership footprint, and do the things that truly matter most in their life. Through the years I've spent working with people, they shared the things they would have done differently. One of my responsibilities is helping tell those stories to the younger generation so they learn through those experiences sooner," Thornton said.

Headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, Scooters Coffee employs many college graduates and students. Helping through mentorship and giving back is a part of the company’s culture.

"It's important for them to give back by speaking in classes or judging competitions. It's fun for us," said Eckles.

Malorie Maddox, chief marketing officer at Scooters Coffee, shared how there are more than 775 locations in 30 states, and the growth is a tremendous testament to the Eckles' drive and commitment.

"Don and Linda never gave up for 25 years, despite failures. They just kept saying, 'We can build this brand,'" she said. "It truly takes a special person to be able to tap into that and power through it. We want to empower students and have them love franchising or want to own their own businesses.”

Published: June 11, 2024