Reid Carter, owner of Growlers To Go, a store specializing in craft beer, started the new year by mentoring two Richmond MBA students.

“The future of the country lies in entrepreneurs,” Carter said. “I want to help them, and this was a good way to do it.”

He’s working with current MBA students Alan Barlow, GB’17, and Amber Answine, GB’18, on opening a new Growlers To Go location in the outer banks of North Carolina.

Barlow is spearheading the effort as his Capstone Project.

“It’s been a great experience working with Reid,” Barlow said. “He is very passionate about Growlers To Go’s success and about capturing value from the Capstone Project. At the same time, however, he wants to make sure that I benefit from the experience as well.”

They plan to open a store similar to Growers To Go, but hope to target the vacation crowd with cooler and keg rentals ready to be picked up as soon as guests arrive in town.

“This project is allowing me to pull together several aspects of the MBA program,” Barlow said. “I have been able to draw from learnings in several classes and apply them to my Capstone, from finance and accounting to strategy, operations, and marketing.” Barlow is a senior manager of business strategy at Genworth in Richmond.

Answine, a project manager for Apple-REIT, joined the project when Carter agreed to be her mentor.

“He truly believes that the future of our economy rests on entrepreneurs,” Answine said. “This was new territory for me, so neither of us really knew what to make of it coming into it.”

Answine is helping Carter from the marketing perspective, researching the store fronts and customer base in Duck, N.C. for Carter’s new store.

She also holds a master’s degree in architecture from Virginia Tech, which has come in handy for her in this process. 

“Since I’ve never had an experience as an entrepreneur, he has allowed me to participate,” Answine said. “He and I are now working on the design of the new store, so I’m hoping to get down to the Outer Banks with him to put a design brief together. It has been insightful applying my past education to a present project.”

It is a new experience for Carter as well, since he’s never opened a business like this in another state before.

But both Carter and Answine agree, they’re in it together, learning from one another. He, from her architectural eye, and she from his years of entrepreneurship experience.

“I’m learning of the trial and error that he’s already been through,” Answine said. “He can pass that on to me, so I’m no longer starting from scratch. I’m working with someone who’s able to provide guidance to help me navigate the future based on his past experiences. That’s something that I wouldn’t have without the relationship that I’m building with him.”

“I believe it’s important to encourage people to see what they can do as entrepreneurs,” Carter said of his experience with the two of them. “It’s important to show people what you go through in a startup.”

They hope to have the new Growlers To Go open in Duck, N.C., this summer.