Six hundred thirty-three steps from Suffolk University’s front door, a major regional business had unanswered questions.
Roche Bros. supermarket opened its Downtown Crossing location in 2015 as a wave of revitalization hit the neighborhood. Now the area is a hive of activity, fueled by pour-over coffees from the craft roasters on every corner and bargains from trendy retailers like Ireland’s Primark.
So how can a supermarket stand out in this supercharged environment? Roche Bros. worked with its neighbors at Suffolk — leveraging the market research skills of 376 business students — to find out.
Partnering with Suffolk students makes sense for Roche Bros., says director of marketing Dena Kowaloff. Community involvement has long been a core tenet of the company, and leadership is always looking for creative solutions to business challenges. When marketing department chair Liz Wilson asked if Roche Bros. wanted to work with students in the Sawyer Business School the mutual benefits were obvious.
“Suffolk brings the market research expertise,” explains Kowaloff. “For us, it’s exciting to work with Suffolk students because they’re our community, our customers, and they’re the future.”
The benefits for students are immediate and long-lasting.
“Working on a team to solve actual business problems builds negotiation and leadership skills,” says course lead Professor Pelin Bicen. “Students develop an appetite for learning and a problem-solving mindset.”