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Inside a College Entrepreneur's Unique Coat Check Business A stolen jacket leads to a big business for an Indiana University grad.

By Jodi Helmer

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Photography by Randy Harris
Warming up: Derek Pacque of CoatChex.

On a cold night in 2010, Indiana University senior Derek Pacqué tucked his coat into a dark corner of a nightclub instead of wearing it on the dance floor. When he went to retrieve it later, it was gone.

Pacqué, an entrepreneurship student, never did find his coat. But he did find the inspiration to start a business. "None of the bars in town had a coat check, so I had to wear a coat around all night or leave it at home and freeze," he recalls. "I thought, There has to be a way to deal with this problem."

Pacqué approached bar owners around Bloomington to assess their interest in offering a coat check and received positive feedback. He invested $500 in materials to make mobile coat racks, hired a handful of college students and launched Hoosier Coat Check. Three local bars signed on; the firm charged $2 to $3 per coat and paid between 10 and 30 percent of its revenue to the venues. On cold nights, Pacqué says, each coat check brought in up to $1,500, and in the first six months of operation, revenue reached $50,000.

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