Donuts, Dorm Storm and Driving: How W&L students pursue on-campus entrepreneurship

Some self-starting students have balanced schoolwork with money-making gigs

Laura Calhoun

Since the start of the 2017-2018 school year, a few enterprising W&L students have initiated business start-ups, using concepts they learned in the classroom and capitalizing on the unique student demands at a somewhat rural college campus.

Sleepless Donuts

The most recent startup on W&L’s campus is Sleepless Donuts, a business founded by Virginia Kettles, ‘19.

“I like how you can be your own boss,” Kettles said. “It just seemed so interesting how you can start something new on your own and grow it.”

The service delivers baked donuts to students on Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.

Kettles said her inspiration for the idea came from late nights on campus when she craved sweets and wished for options besides a cookie from Co-op.

“I specifically thought of donuts because when I think of something sweet that I like to eat late at night, it’s usually something big and hearty,” Kettles said.

This, combined with inspiration from her Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship course gave Kettles the skills to pursue Sleepless Donuts.

Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship is a 100-level course open to all years and majors taught by Marc Junkunc, a W&L associate professor of business administration and entrepreneurship.

Junkunc said the course allows students to work in teams to develop an new and dynamic idea.

It focuses on providing students with an introduction to the concepts of entrepreneurship, business, and the thought process behind making business decisions.

“Entrepreneurship is really a mindset; it’s not a profession,” Junkunc said.

Junkunc said it is common for students who study entrepreneurship in college to start a business five to ten years in the future, but students like Kettles who begin a business in college are rare.

Kettles said that staying up late on weekends has been the most difficult part of the process so far. She bakes and delivers the donuts with the help of Foifon Teawadatwan, ’19, Chantal Iosso, ’20, and Iman Messado, ’19.

Currently, Sleepless Donuts offers chocolate and vanilla flavors. If the student body’s support continues, Kettles said she will consider adding a cinnamon or lemon flavor. Sleepless Donuts expanded to include delivery to Elrod Commons and the first-year dorms on Feb. 9.

Dorm Storm

Andrew Whicker, ‘20, launched food delivery service “Dorm Storm” in September 2017 with two friends because he was disappointed in the lack of delivery options from Lexington restaurants.

Dorm Storm advertises as delivering within a five-mile radius of the W&L campus and can get carry-out from a wide array of Lexington eateries; everywhere from upscale Bistro and Southern Inn, to Napa Thai and Blue Phoenix, to Waffle House and Frank’s Pizza.

Photo courtesy of Andy Whicker, ’20

The service comes at a price of $5 plus 10 percent of total food cost. Dorm Storm gives the option of paying with Venmo, a popular and convenient funds-transfer app, which differentiates  it from other food delivery services in Lexington.

Whicker said part of Dorm Storm’s success is due to a hardworking team who care about the project.

“We had the idea, talked to our parents about it, and they said ‘why not?’” Whicker said. “We’re in college, we don’t have a ton to lose; we might as well.”


Teressa Hill, ’19 has had a different approach to becoming involved in a new idea.

She recently began working as a driver for Lyft, a rideshare service that is new to Lexington. She said the flexible hours and ability to choose who she drives attracted her to work for the company, and suggested that other students consider business ventures outside of class.

“Consider what you’re good at, what your hobbies are, what you care about,” Hill said. “Take the initiative.”

Junkunc encouraged students to utilize the university’s resources, like the Entrepreneurship Summit in the fall, if they are interested in starting a business.

“It really is a lot like a seed for a tree,” Junkunc said. “If everything comes together properly, that little tiny seed will grow into a big tree. What we’re doing is planting seeds.”