Mission Three, a business launched by Georgetown students in February 2007 to deliver locally grown fresh produce, used to boast that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” This semester, though, the apple won’t be falling at all.

According to a press release issued by the company yesterday, Mission Three has decided to halt fruit delivery to Georgetown for an indeterminate amount of time. Instead, it plans to develop a new e-commerce Web site and to launch a consulting service.

As a result, the more than 130 regular customers who used the Mission Three fruit delivery services last fall will have to find new outlets for their fresh produce.

After the company was initially launched, the growing popularity of the service prompted the company’s leadership to restructure its operations so that it could expand its ventures. Mission Three LLC became an umbrella company, and its food service branch became known as Campus Fresh.

ission Three’s services were then expanded late last year to Loyola University Chicago, where they are also being put on hold this fall.

While its services are postponed this semester, Mission Three will be conducting market research to develop a new “student grocery interface” to expand their services to more students.

“Much of the info on the student grocery interface is still in research and development,” said Arthur Woods (MSB ’10), founder of the company.

While Woods is studying abroad this semester, Interim CEO Aaron Hollub (MSB ’10) referred to this new grocery interface as the “Amazon project,” comparing it to the e-commerce giant. He said that the planned site will be customized with local products for each of the various campuses and will offer products other than just produce.

Hollub said the old model of fruit delivery that characterized Mission Three was too heavily dependent on manpower and that the new Web site will allow them to use exponentially less labor, cutting costs and therefore prices for students.

Because Hollub believes this less labor-intensive model is “better business,” he said it is unlikely that the company will ever return to the type of model that characterized its operations when it first launched, in which student members hand-delivered produce to student residences. Instead, Hollub said, it is more likely that everything will be controlled through the Web site.

Hollub added that, though the project will be costly, Mission Three has confirmed several investors.

According to the press release, the interface is set to launch in the spring of 2009 at 10 undetermined pilot schools. Woods said they will be decided in the next two months.

While the service will expand to other campuses, the company won’t lose its Hoya identity, according to Hollub.

“What we want to do is have it customized at each school,” he said. “But it will be built out of the spirit of Georgetown, which has always been a key part of what we’re all about. Mission Three is a Georgetown University name.”

Under the umbrella of Mission Three a new consulting company has been formed, known as M3E Consulting. The development of the consulting company is another one of the reasons resources have been diverted away from fruit delivery.

The new consulting service is a student-led ethical consulting company that focuses on the three themes of health, environment and community, the three founding pillars from which the company derives its name.

According to Hollub, the consulting company is getting started with its first clients. Saxby’s Coffee has confirmed its participation, and Hollub said M3E consulting hopes to finalize plans to work with The Corp within the next few weeks. As with the company’s other endeavors, Hollub hopes to keep the Georgetown identity within the consulting firm – he plans to start with companies local to Georgetown that students are very familiar with, and only Georgetown students will serve as consultants.

The services provided by the firm will initially be free, as Hollub said he envisions it as a community project. “At the beginning, it will be totally free; we aren’t going to charge a dime,” he said. “There may be a small fee down the line, but it’s all going to be reinvested in the community, anyway.”

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