Senior entrepreneurship major Cody Geidel was in a pickle when he had to come up with a business idea for one of his classes. Luckily, pickles were just what he needed to turn his college assignment into a full-fledged business.
“[Geidel’s Pickles] started as a simple project in one of my classes, and now it’s something I am seriously considering for after graduation,” Geidel says.
Geidel’s Pickles, a company still in the early phases of development, was started by Geidel in his junior year. His family has been making pickles for years on their Warwick, N.Y., farm, growing each ingredient. The pickles have a unique flavor starting with initial sweetness followed by a quick kick of heat, before turning back to sweetness.
“My family gave them away every year for different holidays, and people loved them,” he says. “I figured that’s a perfect situation for a business. People already want them, might as well make money off of it.”
The Small Business Development Center and the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship have both provided guidance for Geidel as he traverses the way to starting his own business. He was first introduced to the organizations through his professors, many of whom also work for the two centers. Any Wilkes student starting a business is eligible for help from either center.
“[The Allan P. Kirby Center] has helped me with things like business plans, outlines, presentations for funding, just about everything,” he says.
Although he has found his niche in business, that isn’t where his collegiate career at Wilkes started. Geidel initially was an environmental engineering major before switching to entrepreneurship after three semesters. He found that the multi-faceted mix of classes taken by entrepreneurship majors was a perfect fit.
“I didn’t know what a business major was exactly [when I started college.] It is segmented into finance, marketing, accounting. I didn’t really know if any of that interested me,” he said. “Entrepreneurship is a little bit of everything. They have to do marketing, do their own accounting. It seems like the most overall well-rounded major in business.”
His time at the Sidhu School gave him close personal relationships with his professors, including Gerald Ephault, who also is his mentor at the Allan P. Kirby Center, where he is executive-in-residence.
“There’s certainly been nice professors all the time,” says Geidel. “But [Professor Ephault] reaches out to me even when I’m not in his class just to see how I am doing.”
Geidel initially was drawn to Wilkes due to the lacrosse coach Curtis Jacques’ stellar reputation. He has played with the lacrosse team all four years while at Wilkes, making some lifelong friendships with his teammates
“Some of the guys [from lacrosse] will be my friends for life,” he says. “Even if we didn’t play lacrosse, we would still be best of friends.”
Wilkes’ size – a small university with the resources and course offerings of a larger institution – also was the right fit for him. “I knew I wanted a smaller school; I just felt like this was meant to be.”
After he graduates in May, Geidel plans to get a job while he continues to build his pickle business on the side.
“Some of my goals include officially starting the business, then getting money together for labels, packaging and licensing,” he said. “From there, if it does well, I would consider doing it full-time and upping the scale we are working at.”