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Area students to compete at national event for entrepreneurs

Rochester Business Journal
June 10, 2014

Phoenix Haberdashery LLC and Toller Brand Game Calls have been selected by the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy among six finalists to represent Rochester at the 2014 National YEA! 6th Annual Saunders Scholars Competition Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The teams were selected to advance last month at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy’s Competition’s semifinal round.

Phoenix Haberdashery is run by McQuaid Jesuit High School student Riley Benner. His class partner Luke Zaremski helped him throughout the process and serves as chief financial officer. Toller Brand Game Calls was founded by Hilton High School student Noah Corette.

Phoenix Haberdashery specializes in making reversible neckties. Corette’s company is a customized duck call outlet.

Both teams will compete for scholarship dollars of $25,000 to $50,000 as well as for a chance to be on ABC’s TV show “Shark Tank.” The local teams compete against finalists from Indiana, Texas and Washington state at America’s Small Business Summit.

“I go to McQuaid, so I wear ties five days of the week,” said Riley Benner, CEO of Phoenix Haberdashery. “I realized when looking through my ties, how much material was being wasted on the back of the tie. When someone buys our ties, they are getting the same quality that they would get with some of the top brands on the market, but they are getting two ties in one.”

Corette, a Hamlin, crafts ducks calls using wood from his grandparents’ house.

The Young Entrepreneur’s Academy is a yearlong class that instructs students on how to tap into the mindset of an entrepreneur. It started 10 years ago in Rochester and now has footholds in 33 other states.

“The fact that I’m bringing my own business to the America’s Small Business still hasn’t fully kicked in,” Benner said. “It just amazes me to think that I came into the Young Entrepreneur’s Academy with no idea how to start and run a business, and I’d never really had any ‘billion-dollar idea.’ Now, I am the founder and CEO of a real, working business.”

Watch the competition webcast beginning at noon Wednesday.
©2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail

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