Honey & Mackie’s Gets Help from Wayzata Students for ‘23 Holiday Sampler Pack
Every year during the holiday season, Honey & Mackie’s releases the ultimate stocking stuffer — its holiday sampler pack.
“This year, we are doing Honey & Mackie’s take on traditional desserts,” said Suzanne Varecka, the owner of Honey & Mackie’s.
This year’s edition features 12 decadent flavors, designed to satisfy the cravings of any ice cream lover.
“The chocolate eclair is, I think, going to be a cult favorite,” Varecka said. “So we’ve got some really rich ones and really exciting ones that I’m certain people are going to love this year.”
But to pick these flavors, Varecka took a different approach than in years’ past and enlisted the help of three students from Wayzata High School.
As part of Wayzata’s advanced marketing class, seniors Valli Subramanian, Sydney Povitz and Grace Illingworth reached out to Honey & Mackie’s at the beginning of the school year.
“We came upon Honey and Mackie’s because we want to do something in the food business,” Subramanian said. “So the final project is to contact the business and help them and come up with proposals for something that they can improve in.”
Specifically, the students wanted to help the ice cream shop with its marketing and social media presence.
“And we also wanted to create a shared goal of success,” said Povitz, during a presentation to the class on Nov. 9. “Not only for us, but for Honey & Mackie’s as well.”
That presentation was the culmination of weeks of research, as the students worked with Varecka to learn more about how the business works.
“Throughout this project we specifically focused on the holiday sampler, so most of our recommendations are gonna revolve around that as well,” Illingworth told the class.
Developing the holiday sampler
The research done by the students also included a customer survey asking people about their favorite holiday activities.
“We got a bunch of responses, and we just took the ideas and responses from that and we put it on a sheet and we just came up with the different flavors,” Subramanian said.
The students gave that list to Varecka, who then used the information to come up with this year’s sampler pack.
“Pecan shortbread is my personal favorite,” Varecka said.
While the customers ultimately are the ones who benefit, Varecka has the added pleasure of knowing she’s supporting the dream of young female entrepreneurs.
“I think it’s important for women who have business experience to support young women, and sort of develop them and cheer them on so that they know what there’s a path for them,” Varecka said.
Meanwhile, the students said they appreciated the opportunity to work with Honey & Mackie’s.
“It’s just crazy how one person can do so much and make a difference, and not only just running the ice cream, but going into the community and doing things and overall just wanting to help everybody really inspires me,” said Povitz.
“Yeah, being able to see everything that goes on behind the scenes, it’s really cool, and definitely gave us a greater appreciation for those behind-the-scenes aspect of running a business,” Illingworth said.
In addition to the holiday sampler, the students also helped Honey & Mackie’s expand its social media presence and produce short videos as part of the class project.