Bartenders, barbacks and doormen working at beloved
drinking establishments in the uptown Athens area Friday night will be
throwing in their towels - for pink ones.
Out of respect for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 17 bars lining Court Street and adjacent uptown streets will do their part to raise awareness for the disease as October comes to a close.
The month-long cause is not the only reason these businesses were inspired to show their colors; credit is owed to four students enrolled in the Ohio University College of Business who coordinated this charitable movement as part of a project for an entrepreneur sales class.
For the Marketing 491 course, taught by Greg Kaple, students were asked to develop and execute an idea that incorporated sales, either by selling a product or partnering with a local business, according to the assignment.
"A lot of Athens is about the nightlife," said Dan Hendricks, a member of the team and marketing major with a sales certificate. "Going off of what we've learned in class, this is a good market to use."
The team also includes seniors Mac Lloyd, Kevin LaJudice and Brian Taylor.
Entrepreneurial sales have taught the students about taking risks in the business world. "We learned in class that if there's an opportunity to go after it," said Hendricks.
Lloyd agreed that this enterprise is well within the scope of the sales-based curriculum. "We're taking risks and coming up with measureable results," he said.
He explained that the risk involved seeing if the owners would buy the product. "We were shocked that pretty much every bar we asked agreed," he said. "It was pretty impressive."
Already this entrepreneurship has proven to be a successful business venture; a considerable amount of funds for the cancer fight have been raised from the sale of the 140 pink towels that the team pitched for bars to purchase, according to Hendricks.
No matter how many beverages you consume Friday night, don't forget to tip generously whoever mixes your drink, the students said. Hendricks said bars that are donating a percentage of their tips will have a sign on display.
All the proceeds from the night will go toward breast cancer awareness, Hendricks said.
"This is one of our favorite charities," said The Pub owner Tom VanDyke, who has signed on to participate in Friday's fundraiser.
The final weekend of October not only bodes well for the project's prosperity as the finale for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but also as the sponsorship for Athens' most well-attended event of the year: Halloween.
"It's always best to do these fundraisers on big weekends," said VanDyke, who has 22 years of experience running The Pub (and who recently purchased the North Court Street bar).
Hendricks endorsed the leverage of Halloween as well. "[During this weekend] we know the population doubles; therefore we have a better chance of making a greater profit for our cause," he said.
Participating bars (and eateries) include The Crystal, The C.I., Cat's Eye Saloon, Jackie O's Pub and Brewery, The Union Bar and Grill, The Red Brick Sports Pub and Grill, Lucky's Sports Tavern, The Pub, Pawpurr's Bar, The Junction, Tony's Tavern, Casa Nueva Restaurant Cantina and Bodega, Broney's Alumni Grill, Courtside Pizza and Sports Bar, Restaurant Salaam, The Oak Room and W. G. Grinders, according to Hendricks and Lloyd.
The guidelines of the marketing mission disclosed that any earned profit would be donated to a local charity, but the group went a step further in choosing its own. Syncing with the relevance of October, giving to breast cancer awareness seemed like the most beneficial choice, according to Hendricks. "We thought we might as well take advantage of the assignment to earn money for this good cause," he said. "And who doesn't love charity?"