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Feature Friday: Mama Bear’s got the goods

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Seniors and Mama Bear creators Danny Gritt, Sophia Cacioppo and Justin Zotos pose for a photo with mentor Brian Sly at Wednesday's enterpreneurship competition.

Seniors and Mama Bear creators Danny Gritt, Sophia Cacioppo and Justin Zotos pose for a photo with mentor Brian Sly at Wednesday's enterpreneurship competition.

Joshua Irvine

Joshua Irvine

Seniors and Mama Bear creators Danny Gritt, Sophia Cacioppo and Justin Zotos pose for a photo with mentor Brian Sly at Wednesday's enterpreneurship competition.

Joshua Irvine

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Don’t let the charming name or vaguely kitschy aesthetic deceive you; Mama Bear Delivery Company means business.

Mama Bear Delivery Company, a web service providing customizable care packages for delivery to college students, is the brainchild of seniors Sophia Cacioppo, Danny Gritt and Justin Zotos.

The trio, along with the late senior Nick Spaid, created Mama Bear in the entrepreneurship classroom of teacher Daniel Vesper, a room that saw thirteen other projects ranging from drone photography companies to educational football video games.  This Wednesday, Mama Bear defeated all of them at an official competition hosted at the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, receiving $500 for their efforts.  One of the judges at the event described the choice as “near unanimous.”

But Mama Bear’s market is also its biggest problem.  All three of it’s members will be attending college this fall; Cacioppo at Marquette University, Gritt at the University of Denver, and Zotos at NYU Shanghai.

That’s not stopping the three entrepreneurs, however.  “Our idea is to hire high school kids or kids going to Harper [College]; whoever has extra time,” Cacioppo said.

Cacioppo, who handles the company’s social media and is closest to home, will have the most direct role in maintaining the company from college.  Gritt will continue to handle the website, which he created alongside his brother and Hersey alumnus Ryan Gritt.

The China-bound Zotos’ role is less certain.  “I’ll be tapping the international market,” Zotos said, joking.

Cacioppo joined in; “He’s gonna be buying stuff in bulk: very cheap,” Cacioppo said.

A more sombre question remains, however: how to honor their compatriot Spaid, who committed suicide on April 28 after a struggle with depression.

“We want to somehow donate our proceeds to… something with mental health awareness,” Cacioppo said, struggling to find the right words to explain.  “We kinda wanna do that as a memory to him.”

Zotos had previously pledged at a celebration of Spaid’s life to donate proceeds from the company to his friend’s family.

Mama Bear will compete again on Monday, May 22 against other entrepreneurship projects in District 214, this time for $1,000.  The money almost doesn’t matter, though.  Cacioppo, Gritt, and Zotos have a higher goal in mind: spreading that Mama Bear love.

Their words.

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