It doesn't sound like a normal start-up business from a high-school student but one Marshall County senior used her business model to win an inaugural statewide competition.
Monarch senior Sierra Cook believes that growing and selling shiitake and maitake mushrooms could end up being very profitable and the inaugural Statewide Business Plan Competition thought so, too.
Cook couldn't believe she won a $10,000 scholarship after her "Marshall Mushrooms" business plan was picked out of dozens of entries in the state at the competition this weekend.
"It was a big surprise winning and now I'm seeing the pictures and realizing how big of a deal it is," said Sierra. "I'm very happy and not necessarily overwhelmed but excited."
Sierra's plan called for a lot of student involvement and it helped incorporated the community and kept the profits local too.
"We planned on renting land from a local farmer in Marshall County, West Virginia and growing and selling the shiitake mushrooms by employing students from John Marshall ....." said Sierra.
The mushrooms would then be cut, packaged, and sold at areas in and around Marshall County.
Sierra was coached by her Marketing Teacher Cindy Nicholson through the business competition. Nicholson and Sierra found out that the mushrooms don't just taste good but they have other heath benefits too.
"They have cancer-fighting benefits," said Sierra. "One of my teachers has multiple myeloma and she takes a mushroom extract pill so we hope that has something to do with keeping her healthy."
Next up for Sierra, she entered her Marshall Mushrooms business plan into the national DECA Competition in Atlanta. After that, Sierra has been accepted into WVU's College of Business and Economics.