My week Interning with Athens’ Own was unforgettable. My favorite memories were riding around the back roads in the truck with Constantine as we ran business errants, selling delicious, handcrafted foods at the bustling farmer’s market, and getting to visit the shared community workspace building where Constantine prepared his products for market. I had no idea that running a business could be so much fun. There were so many people we got to chat with throughout the day, and new ideas for the business were constantly being developed. There was so much potential for new things Athens Own could sell or do for the community that would both generate funds and serve a crucial role in someone else’s operations. I learned that creative thinkers go far in this environment, because they can see the potential in new business ideas, develop those ideas, and implement them.
Not only did I have a great time helping Constantine run the business, but I also learned how interconnected a business can be with its community. Rather than competing against other local businesses that are all selling the same products, Constantine’s business takes other business’ raw products, such as fresh hot peppers or savory beef, and turns them into value-added products for re-sale. Setting up at the market that Saturday, I felt proud to be part of an interactive enterprise who’s first priority wasn’t profits, and who’s items for sale were beautiful and irresistibly tasty. The shoppers at the market ate it up–literally.
Constantine’s business thrives off the success of other businesses and the prosperity of the people in his community. If that isn’t a better business model, I don’t know what is! Looking back on how much insight I gained while working with Athens’ Own, I would definitely recommend this internship to other college students.