A New Home for Your Nachos

Adam Keys 2During the housing collapse, the sweltering sum­mer heat of Phoenix was no place for a young salesman pushing pest control. But for Adam Keys it was just the kind of pressure needed to get the creative juices flowing. “Nobody had money and nobody liked salesmen,” Keys remembers. It was then that Keys matched the perfect product with its target audience. “I sold No Soliciting signs door-to-door,” Keys says. “Eighty percent of people who would laugh when they opened the door would buy it.” But this wasn’t just funny business: the 2011 finance graduate paid his college bills, learned graphic design, and gained experience running his own company.

This early venture is paying off in Keys’s latest start-up: Stadium Bowls.

During the 2013 football season, BYU fans had the option of eating their game-day goodies from a small replica of the LaVell Edwards Stadium. These shaped bowls are perfect for nachos, ice cream, or chili. When the last play is over, fans can take the bowl home as a reusable souvenir. Keys designed and produced the bowls along with father-and-son team Leonard and Matthew Lee, his business part­ners and neighbors.

Stadium Bowls are not only a one-of-a-kind item but also involve a new printing technique. After coming up with the initial idea, the group searched for a plastic manufacturer before realizing no one was capable of producing a double-sided print that was still safe for food contact. After several attempts and tweaks, they finally arrived at a marketable version.

“We learned through a lot of failures,” Keys says. “We tried the next thing and the next thing before we got to how we’re making them now. We keep everything in-house—the molds, printing, forming, and cutting.”

Keys contributed most to the creative aspects of the process, bringing the product all the way from a prototype on the screen to its plastic form today. Keys also drew on his experience interning with WTAS and CitiGroup to complete the financial projections for Stadium Bowls.

In addition to BYU, Stadium Bowls can be seen at the University of Cincinnati sporting a Bearcats logo. After successfully navigating these two big clients, the Stadium Bowls team is preparing samples to woo its next hopeful market: the college bowl games, naturally.

Keys, his wife, Brittany, and their new daughter, Laela, live in Orem. Keys enjoys mountain biking, dirt biking, skiing, and snowboarding but says spending time with his family tops the list.

Check out the winter issue’s class notes for more alumni stories and updates.