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Admittedly, it was the email tagline that grabbed my attention: College Hunks Hauling Junk are coming to the Quad-Cities.

Yes, that is a company, and it’s eyeing the Quad-Cities as part of expansion nationwide. The 12-year-old company, founded by a pair of then-college students, is looking for a local franchisee to join the Tampa, Florida-based College Hunks.

“We’re trying to fill out our Midwest footprint,” said Nick Friedman, who co-founded the junk removal/moving service with friend Omar Soliman. Their goal is to add about two dozen franchises a year with half in the Midwest.

Friedman said College Hunks Hauling Junk began when the pair were in college and Soliman’s mom had a beat-up van and said, “Why don’t you do something with it.”

At first, the two did as the name suggests: hauled out junk for people.

“We realized people had a need for the service and appreciated the notion of having friendly collegiate guys doing the work,” Friedman said.

After graduating college and short stints in corporate America, they returned to their startup.

“We realized we needed to learn how to grow our business and not just run it,” he said.

Today, College Hunks is about 100 franchises strong and employs more than 1,000 people — not all college hunks, but many are. For more information, visit

“One of our core values is building leaders,” Friedman said. "We want to just prepare them to be successful in their future endeavors, no matter what that path might be."

Not bad for a pair of friends who met in 10th-grade detention.

Augustana students prove business acumen

Three teams of Augustana College students have shown they have the types of ideas that can make it in the business world.

In the college's Rogers Business Plan Competition, a Shark Tank-like competition, the teams were selected as winners after presenting their plans to a panel of business professionals. 

They include: first place, Connor Woolf and Janice Wu for their JobPlug, a new type of job-hunting website, $7,000; second place, Dana Goggin, Katie Le and Trisha Piekarczyk for PEAK, a smartphone app to help roommates split bills, buy household supplies and divide chores, $4,500; and third place, Camilo Duarte for 2Improve, an improv comedy club.

Each business plan had to identify a problem that people or businesses have and propose a solution in the form of a product or service an entrepreneur wants to offer. Winners were announced last month after the best five plans presented their ideas to the business professionals.

The competition is supported and funded by the Howard and Helen Rogers Entrepreneurship Endowment.

DeWitt student essay wins Culver's contest

For Skylar Bloom, an incoming senior at DeWitt Central High School, the future of agriculture is bright.

In fact, her thoughts on the subject helped Skylar earn the top prize in Culver's 3rd annual FFA Essay Contest. For her prize, she was presented a $7,500 check in a special ceremony June 1 with Culver's CEO Joe Koss. He presented her the check at the Culver's of Clinton.

The prize money will fund her FFA chapter's trip in October to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis.

The students were asked: "As a future ag leader, what do you want people to know about the agricultural industry? How will you help to educate them on this subject?"

Skylar's answer to the essay question rose to the top of more than 650 entries. She wrote, "The agriculture industry is not just farming. It's engineering and sales, it's leadership and public speaking, it's wildlife conservation and fisheries, and so much more. It's a wide range of career possibilities — some of which haven't even been discovered today but will be available in the near future. The landscape of our agricultural world is changing, and the future possibilities are endless."

The essay contest is part of Culver's Thank You Farmers initiative, which supports the education of tomorrow's ag leaders.

Biz Bytes is a weekly column by Quad-City Times reporter Jennifer DeWitt. Contact her at 563-383-2318 or