It is no secret that the transition from home to college is a difficult one for both parents and new college students. Adjusting to a new schedule, a new housing situation and a completely new community is never an easy task for anyone. After realizing how difficult this transition was for him, Hope student Owen Edlefson (‘25) developed the idea for Anchor Box to help fellow students adjust to college.
This all started a couple years ago, right after Owen had just finished his first semester of his freshman year. “I wanted to start a business, so I talked with my parents and we came up with the idea for a care package company.” He brought in his friend Andnet DeBoer (’24) to help finalize some details, and they brought in their friend, Wesley Stewart, to help with capital after he had expressed an interest in helping them bring this project to life. The business went so well last year that this year they even brought in a fourth partner, Brendan VerLee (’25).
As mentioned earlier, Owen’s inspiration behind this idea was based on his own adjustment into college. “My freshman year I really felt the displacement that we feel when going back home after being away at college. I wasn’t sure what the connection between the two was during this time.”
He thought about what he could bring to the table to bridge the connection between home and college. Wesley brought up the fact not only do students struggle with the move to college, but so to do parents. “We wanted to find a new way for parents to interact with their kids, so we gave them a planned way to bring these messages to their kids. Our boxes even include customized notes that the sender writes to the receiver.”
Similarly, Andnet also found this to be the case as he stated, “My aunt would always Venmo me around finals time and tell me to go do something fun.”
When it comes to who can receive one of these boxes, it can be anyone at Hope. Since its inception, all orders have been for students. The team says that their vision is to keep this business local, based on Hope students and their experiences on campus. Owen says, “Since this is what we can all understand and relate to, keeping our product relevant to Hope is the main thing we want to bring to the table.”
There are a variety of different boxes that people can receive, and each one comes with its own unique contents. On their website, you can closely look at each option and everything that comes in the box. They even have an “anchor selection,” which are the boxes that you can consistently send, coming with a monthly special box!
Hoping to also connect students with the Holland community, the team decided to reach out to local businesses to include local items in the boxes. “There is always an aspect of something with the downtown area in each box since we want students to feel welcome in the Holland community,” Owen says.
This month, Anchor Box is featuring two special boxes, a “Sick Box” to help with the seasonal cold, and a “Cornucopia Box” that features gift cards to local Holland businesses. The price of each box varies, ranging from $25 to $40. To send a box, simply visit the Anchor Box website (www.anchorbox.shop), select a box, and the team will do the rest! You can even choose face-to-face delivery!
As the business grows, the team is also working on launching the “Anchor Journal” — a journal that has prompts based on Hope College. One of these journals is for the student while the other is for the parent. Then, when the parent and student are reunited, they can enjoy reading them together!
Though the business may grow, the mission remains the same — providing connection. As Wesley notes, “There isn’t anything better that Anchor Box does than giving students that connection when they don’t have their parents for an extended period of time. It gives them hope.”
Check out their website to learn more and to order your box today! (www.anchorbox.shop)