UIU students have the scoop on the Sugar Bowl

Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can stop Upper Iowa University students, (l-r) Yi Mun Choo, Sara Johnson, Bri Dahring and Brilee Hoemann, above, from serving up smiles and good food to the Peacock community at the Sugar Bowl in downtown Fayette.

You could say that Yi Mun Choo, Bri Dahring, Brilee Hoemann and Sara Johnson have the “sweetest” jobs in the community. Who wouldn‘t want the opportunity to work around a long list of uniquely delicious hard serve ice cream flavors like strawberry cheesecake or espresso Oreo on a daily basis? The four Upper Iowa University student workers and interns have been serving up flights of these dairy treats and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches at Sugar Bowl Fayette since its opening in March 2021.

In fact, the Peacock community could actually thank Choo for being the reason the Sugar Bowl owners, Nathan and Brittany Todd, brought their business to downtown Fayette. A marketing major from Selangor, Malaysia, Choo was interviewing for an internship at Sugar Bowl Decorah (Iowa) when she first suggested the couple consider adding a Fayette location. The opportunity to open a business in a college campus community was only a short drive from their two established Decorah locales was an opportunity the Todds decided they could not pass up.

“I am happy and grateful that Brittany and Nathan were kind and open-minded to listen to my ideas on opening a new shop here in Fayette,” Choo said. “My experiences with them have been phenomenal. I consider myself lucky to have attended UIU and interned at the Sugar Bowl because I have met so many incredible people who I can call family even when living so far away from home.”

Among those congratulating Yi Mun Choo on her UIU graduation were (l-r) Leyton, Nathan,
Miles, Brittany and Carter Todd. A marketing major from Selangor, Malaysia, Choo was interviewing for an internship at Sugar Bowl Decorah (Iowa) when she first suggested that the Todd family consider adding a Fayette location.

Choo has not only learned how the business operates but also how the Sugar Bowl owners began the enterprise from scratch before it grew into a well-established success.

“The community here in Fayette is so friendly and nice,” Choo said. “Everyone has welcomed us with open arms. In return, they have discovered that the Sugar Bowl is a great place for students and other people to gather and eat great food. Sugar Bowl Fayette is equipped with Wi-Fi and charging dockets, so when inside dining is allowed, students are able to do homework or just hang out in a family atmosphere.”

Johnson, who is double-majoring in business administration and communication studies at UIU, is also currently doing an internship at the Sugar Bowl as part of her Csomay Honors Program project. Utilizing various marketing tactics and the general tasks required in opening a new business, the Elk River, Minnesota, native helped establish a stronger connection between the Sugar Bowl and the Peacock community.

“I am interested in possibly owning my own business someday, so I wanted to have my Honors project reflect something of that,” Johnson said. “When I saw that the Sugar Bowl was coming to town, I felt this would be the perfect opportunity to work with a business and see what goes into its success. Brittany and Nathan are so passionate about what they do and have a lot of fun doing it. They not only took the time to teach me different job skills but also trusted me with completing certain tasks. I am learning so much from them and I look forward to continue contributing to the Sugar Bowl’s success in Fayette!”

Majoring in business and financial management, Dahring started working at the Sugar Bowl because of her career interest in the food industry. A Machesney Park, Illinois, native, she hopes to apply all of her work and UIU educational experiences to one day owning her own business.

Like their many customers, Brilee Hoemann, who is double majoring in art and graphic design with a minor in marketing, gives a thumbs up to the next batch of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches being created on this day by marketing major Yi Mun Choo.

“I love the teamwork provided by everyone since we first opened and welcomed the opportunity to work in an environment where I constantly see people that I know, or I get to know, as loyal customers,” Dahring said. “I greatly appreciate having the chance to learn about this business as well as being a part of its community involvement. I look forward to continuing working here when I return to classes next fall and witness firsthand what other new relationships can be built with other businesses.”

Brilee Hoemann, who is double majoring in art and graphic design with a minor in marketing, saw the Sugar Bowl as a familiar employment opportunity. She was quickly reminded of her previous experiences in the restaurant business back at home in Hampton, Virginia, and the joy it brought her to work with people within a community.

“I was super excited to see that an ice cream shop was coming to Fayette and I saw it as a great opportunity to get to know more people,” Hoemann said. “Brittany and Nathan reaffirmed these thoughts during the interview process and I haven’t been disappointed. They are an amazing couple. I absolutely love everyone I work with and couldn’t ask for a better staff to have by my side!”

Choo, Dahring, Hoemann and Johnson are grateful not only for their educational and Campus life experiences at UIU, but also for the career skills and knowledge they gained while collaborating with the Todds and all the employees at the Sugar Bowl.

“I think having the Sugar Bowl here in Fayette is an amazing addition to our community,” Hoemann concluded. “To have such a loving and positive business here is amazing. It provides students the chance to demonstrate the skills they have learned from a UIU education, adds life to our community, and provides so many people with big smiles—and yummy food all at the same time!”


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