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SUNY Geneseo senior using new business to give back

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-07 18:23:04-04

GOWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Carter Benton is a senior at SUNY Geneseo, getting by with online classes.

"It's been much more difficult this year," Benton said.

That difficulty, not just because the Gowanda native is on zoom most days. Benton is also an entrepreneur.

"It's been challenging because, I've got a test tomorrow and I need to make sure this [website] doesn't say error," Benton said.

Benton, a business administration student, is a member of the VentureWorks Entrepreneurship Program at Geneseo and wanted his business to make a difference. He calls it Johnnie's Blankets.

"Somebody buys a blanket that they purchase online," Benton explained, "and I send them a blanket and then one blanket gets donated to a family in Western New York."

Johnnie's Blankets come in 17 different options from To make his idea work, Benton learned how to make the website, copyright the logo and even learned to sew. The overhead costs came from working all summer.

"I was a contract tracer," Benton said, "I would work from 8am to 5pm during the day, then from 5pm to 9pm I would hop on and do everything I could with Johnnies Blankets."

The idea for Johnnie's Blankets came from Benton's time volunteering in the City of Buffalo. He mentored one young boy whose family didn't have access to heat.

The donated blankets go to Saint's Place in Pittsford. All of the blankets, a little bit larger than some are used to.

"The reason why I went with a bigger blanket is this boy hates blankets that his feet can come out of."

The whole experience has been incredibly fulfilling for Benton as he has been selling the blankets online and at farmers markets. He hopes the orders keep coming to provide blankets all over Western New York.

"To be able to get into all of that and be able to show blankets to more than my Facebook friends, it's pretty cool."

For more on Johnnie's Blankets, visit their website here.