Catching up: How I spent my summer vacation

shanemairetShane Mairet (’09 horticulture) owns and operates Mairet’s Garden Center on Highway 61 in Muscatine, Iowa. This summer, he put his ISU entrepreneurship minor to good use by adding an ice cream store to attract customers to the garden center. What could be more summery than that? We at the Young Alumni Council recently caught up with Shane to add his story to the feature on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” Did you do something cool with your summer vacation? Contact Young Alumni Council marketing committee chair Andrea Fellows ’06 at alfellows@gmail.com to share your story with Young Alumni News.

YAN: What inspired you to start the ice cream shop?
SM: The ice cream shop came about as I was looking for an addition to the garden center and produce farm part that would pull in new people from Hwy. 61 that runs in front of my store. So I decided food was how I wanted to go, but I needed to do it without building an full restaurant. I also love making homemade ice cream, so I combined the two into a ice cream shop. Then I wanted it to be something different than anything else in the area, so I went on the hunt for the best hard serve ice cream I could find. That led me to Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream out of Madison Wisconsin.

How did your time at Iowa State prepare you for your business career?
Iowa State does a great job preparing students for their futures. In my case, I was strongly encouraged and given many opportunities to strengthen my networking skills with programs like Wakonse, the Okoboji Institute of Entrepreneurship, and the great job fairs the colleges organize.

Another opportunity I had at Iowa State that has really helped in preparing me for my position as a business owner is the peer mentoring program. Being a peer mentor to the freshman and transfer horticulture students taught me to think outside of the box to keep people engaged and how to bring many different people together to accomplish a task.

Being comfortable as a leader and networking with other people are invaluable skills that I use almost every day, and I have Iowa State to thank for helping me develop and enhance these skills.

What advice do you have for the class of 2015?
My advice to the class of 2015 is to never let fear dictate the choices you make. Too many times in life we let the fear of what might/might not happen or what other people will say or a million other fears influence what we choose to do. By being true to yourself, you can accomplish amazing things.

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