DISCOUNT DEALERS

It’s such a natural: The great-grandson of the FDR starts his own business during a summer vacation. Maybe that’s why Dal-lasite Toby Roosevelt decided to forego a spring-break road trip this year and head back to Dallas to test the market for his new business.

Roosevelt, then a sophomore at Stanford University, saw a coupon book on campus and decided that a similar publication could be successful on the SMU campus. He talked to a friend he had known at St. Mark’s, Kyle Atkins (who was home on break from Brown University), and the two decided to take on the project.

They began marketing The Dallas Money Book all across North Dallas, not just the SMU area. By August, the two had contracted 72 businesses (half of which were restaurants); convinced a friend, Philip Chalk (the young entrepreneur who created and marketed the “Do You Belong in Highland Park?” poster a few years ago) to design the cover: and started production for 3,000 books. They then placed the coupon books in several area bookstores, junior chambers of commerce, churches, parent organizations and banks. Then, at the end of the summer, the two headed back to school, where they are waiting for the bucks to roll in.

Although Dallas already has several coupon books, Roosevelt and Adkins say that theirs is different-with more upscale restaurants and services. They say the coupons are perfect for college and high school students.

Some of the better-known coupons that will be available in the book arc Bubba’s Restaurant, Royal Tokyo restaurant, I Can’t Believe It’s Yogurt and The Container Store.

In order to help things run smoothly while the two busi-essmen are away at school, Roosevelt’s mother will handle the resupply and inventory.

Time will tell if the product is successful, but regardless of that, Roosevelt says the experience was worth the effort. He says that it gave them the opportunity to “take an idea and turn it into a tangible reality.”

Who knows? If the response is favorable, Roosevelt and Atkins may expand their product next summer, sell the book to markets across Dallas and Fort Worth and wind up with a whole new deal.

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