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News Release| CSULA, Cal State L.A.; Los Angeles; Marketing Team; Rocky Moutain Chocolate Factory; ACRA; Retail Analysis

June 10, 2008

Note to editors and news directors: To arrange interviews with members of the CSULA marketing team, contact the CSULA Public Affairs Office in advance at (323) 343-3050.

Candy-coated analysis yields Cal State L.A. team sweet success

Marketing students win first place

for site selection, business plan

for a new Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory store

Los Angeles, CA – A new Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (RMCF) franchise store may soon be opening at the Fashion Valley Mall in Mission Valley due to a prize-winning site selection and business plan by Cal State L.A.’s student marketing team.  

Selected first among 30 entries at the American Collegiate Retailing Association’s (ACRA) third annual Undergraduate Student Retail Analysis Competition, the CSULA team received $500 from ACRA and $250 from the Geographic Research Inc.

The entries were judged by RMCF senior management teams. Students competed by selecting a new site for a RMCF franchise store and developing a business plan to support their site selection.

Under the direction of sponsoring faculty Shirley Stretch-Stephenson, professor of marketing at Cal State L.A., the student team included Marlena Baldonado (Rancho Cucamonga resident), Ashley Hardwick (San Francisco resident), Ken Houang (Monterey Park resident), Nancy Moreno (Bell resident) Mark Norashkarian (Monrovia resident), and Boilam “Maggie” Trinh (San Gabriel resident).

According to the team’s executive summary: “The [Fashion Valley Mall] location has all the essentials needed for Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to continue its tradition of selling luxury chocolates to its target market, tourists. The decision was based on demographics, geo-demographic characteristics as well as trade area analysis. Fashion Valley Mall has an estimated 5 million people who live within a 40-mile radius and is always striving to respond to the demographic mix of the area.”

“Our financial projections and plans are positive,” the team reported, presenting precise sales projections for the first year and an estimated monthly revenue break-even point. “The marketing strategy developed will contribute in the growth of the location at Fashion Valley Mall.”

In addition to a detailed location analysis, the students’ business plan included data on growth population and demographics, U.S. confectionary market value and share, RMCF company information and financial plan, tourism performance and forecast, and a report on households buying boxed chocolate. 

For more information, contact Professor Stretch-Stephenson at (323) 343-2963. To view a copy of the prize-winning site selection and business plan for RMCF, go to: 

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.