Brad Eaton attended University of Minnesota Crookston as a Trojan, and graduated in 1975 from the hotel, restaurant, and institutional management programs and institutional food service management. At the time, he was involved in food service clubs and worked at Country Kitchen.
Eaton’s favorite memory from UMN Crookston was the mock restaurant project where they served Crookston citizens plus he got to help create the menu and menu design. His favorite class was Intro to Food Service with Fine Cooking which was an introduction to cooking finer, fancier foods including working with larger cuts of meat. It was a step towards the chef program and was very hands-on, he recalled.
Eaton went on to work in the hotel and restaurant industry for seven to eight years until he changed careers in 1999. He became the store manager of a convenience store and worked his way up to marketing and category management. For the last seven years of his career, he managed a Circle K convenience store in Florida.
Eaton is now happily retired. He and his wife, Christina, have been married for 25 years and have three grown children. As a lucrative hobby, they started a sock company called Eaton’s Creation/Uproarious Ends. They have been doing this for about six years, and since then, the business has blossomed. In Pace, Florida, they have leased a larger space to allow room for their 500 sock designs! Their sock designs span from socks for the family, fun socks, crazy socks, cute socks—every kind of sock you can imagine. “Do one thing and do it well” is their business motto. The Eaton’s do several holiday vendor shows throughout the year, bringing their socks on the road.
“This business is keeping us young and helps supplement our savings,” Eaton shared.
Eaton said UMN Crookston was a very good basis for management, and what he learned was “so hands-on.” He was able to learn management skills and techniques that were extremely useful and important to him throughout his careers.
“It set the groundwork for knowing how to treat employees and how to be successful,” he said.
Eaton recalled enjoying his advisor, Sharon Stewart, who pushed him to do his very best at UMN Crookston. Any time he visits Crookston, he tries to catch up with her.
“She had a big impact on my life,” Eaton added. “It’s so fun running into old classmates from Crookston. I made some really great friends who I still talk to sometimes. It was a very good choice of school for me.”
Written for the December 2022 Torchlight e-Newsletter.