Students land partnership: Brothers broker deal with CEO of Lowes Marvin Ellison

A move from Romania, a dream that formed overnight and a CEO who took a leap of faith in a small business — this is the story of two brothers whose hard work and dedication has led them down a path of continued success.

Founders of NOVU Pops, brothers Adelin and Brandon Lucaci brokered a deal with the CEO of Lowes, Marvin Ellison, for their small business during the 2023 Liberty University CEO Summit.

This deal sent their business spiraling in a positive direction, but it was the work done behind the scenes that got them to this point.

Adelin moved from Romania to the United States at the age of 2, where his brother Brandon was born. Throughout their childhood, their father started a construction company that Adelin was set to take the reins on when he was old enough. In preparation for this, Adelin earned his contractor’s license.

During this time, both Adelin and Brandon moved to Virginia to a house they’d purchased as a side rental project. But during the first night there, something monumental happened.

“I woke up with the idea for NOVU Pops,” Adelin said. “So when people ask me how I came up with the idea, I simply say I woke up with it.”

NOVU Pops are a caffeine and vitamin-infused lollipop, each infused with 40-80 milligrams of caffeine, essential vitamins and organic ingredients. Once ingested, the pops begin to work in as little as five minutes and can last up to 40 minutes. The first of their kind and organically made, they are designed to boost and sustain energy levels.

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I knew if I created a good enough product, it would sell itself,” Adelin said. “You can spend two months creating a product that you have to scratch and claw to sell or you can spend two years creating a product that will sell itself. I don’t regret taking the path that I did. It’s hard though.”

Adelin designed the product himself, from filling his patents to making the recipe for the lollipops. He invested over two years and $100,000 of his own money to bring his idea to life.

“For about a year and eight months, there was zero traction with (NOVU Pops). It was just a bunch of trial and error — nothing was really working out,” Brandon said. “Adelin had filed a few patents but the concepts were nearly impossible to take to market. And pretty much, things didn’t start to work until the CEO Summit.”

Liberty University’s CEO Summit provides students with the unique opportunity to network with and learn from over 600 prominent figures in business, entertainment and politics. Students get the opportunity to build relationships with fellow students and alumni, engage in discussion on major issues in a variety of disciplines and interact with facilitators who provide a Christian perspective to leadership.

In the past, students have obtained jobs and internships from networking at the summit. Most recently, Adelin and Brandon obtained a business deal.

“At the summit, (Adelin) had his eye on Marvin Ellison, the CEO of Lowes,” Brandon said. “Adelin’s entire goal was to talk to him and see, as a supplier, what he would have to do to get an endorsement from a place like Lowes.”

Adelin ended up approaching the CEO and was able to obtain a brief conversation. During that time, he showed Ellison the packaging of his product.

“(The packaging) didn’t have a piece of candy in it, it was just the box at the time,” Adelin said. “But he looked at it and was basically like, ‘Good, I like this. Email me and we’ll put you in contact with our team.’ That was definitely the favor of God — it was incredible.”

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This jump started a journey that would transform NOVU Pops and their lives forever. The brothers visited the Lowes Tech Hub last December in Charlotte before launching any sales. Here, they solidified their deal with Lowes and pushed to get their product into stores. Currently, NOVU Pops is in the onboarding process. Adelin and Brandon are building a manufacturing plant on a plot of land they have purchased in Virginia — a 2,000 square foot facility that’s only a month away from completion.

“This was all the favor of God on this business,” Adelin said “Only God can do such things as this. We’re just the operators. God’s owning this business; he’s moving it where he wants, and we’re just his tools.”

Brandon agreed, noting that faith played a large role in the continued success of NOVU Pops. But additionally, he thanked Liberty University.

“This is happening because of the connections that Liberty can provide, such as the CEO Summit,” Brandon said. “Any student should volunteer for (the Summit), but when you volunteer for this, don’t expect something out of it. Have the passion to serve and you will be served in return.”

The CEO Summit occurs every year. Students can learn more by going to this website. For more information on NOVU Pops, visit this website.

Hess is a news reporter for the Liberty Champion

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