His wife, Heidi, a 2007 graduate of RMU's communication program, is excited to create a new gathering place for the Moon Township community and, in particular, RMU's students. "Topping Town will be a little different than your normal frozen yogurt place," she says. "It will be a cozy, comfortable place where you'll want to hang out and relax."
Jamie and Heidi were non-traditional students during their time at Robert Morris. They both worked full-time while earning their degrees, taking classes in the evenings and on the weekends. "We did spend a lot of time together in RoMo's drinking coffee, though," says Jamie.
Topping Town has been a little over a year in the making. The Kownacki's did some training in Florida in order to learn the ins and outs of the yogurt biz, i.e., how to make the product, learning about systems they'd be using, and how to assemble the machines, etc. "It really gave us a lot of valuable information as far as how to get started, everything that we'd need, who to contact, and whatnot," says Heidi, who previously worked as a disability claims manager for Cigna. She also learned a lot from her mom, who owns her own salon.
Jamie, who currently works Dick's Sporting Goods' I.T. department, says that he and Heidi wanted to experience a business from the beginning to end, and therefore went the independent route instead of going with a frozen yogurt franchise. "We also wanted to get involved with RMU," he says, "and we thought this was a great area for this type of business."
The Kownacki's say they really want to develop a strong relationship between Topping Town and their old alma mater. This semester students in Dr. Cathleen S. Jones' marketing class are actually working on marketing ideas and business strategies for the shop. "We're excited to see the students' ideas and what they come up with," says Heidi. "We think it will be really helpful."
Written by Valentine J. Brkich
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