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Student Uses Entrepreneurial Vision To Finance College

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NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - News about skyrocketing college tuition costs and the resulting student loan burden seems ever-present. But, one young North Texan found a unique way to finance his education — without debt!

Like so many college students, Claude York II will spend the summer earning next fall’s tuition. “I called my parents and I was like, ‘I have a plan,’ we can open up a business so we can pay my way through school,” he remembered.

But York’s job situation is a little different. You see, the University of Texas at Arlington junior didn’t apply for a job at the DeSoto Fish Market — he created it.

York is determined to earn his degree without burden. “I really didn’t want to be in debt at all,” he said.

His parents were supportive, but insisted that he put his ‘plan’ on paper. When he did, the DeSoto Fish Market, at 122 South Hampton Road, starting moving from a means to finance a degree, to a first foray in the world of entrepreneurship. “I’d rather work for myself that work for anybody.”

So in August, that’s exactly what he did. But many people asked him, ‘why a fish market?’

The 22-year-old said, “Everybody loves fish. Out here in the suburbs, in the Cedar Hill, Duncanville, DeSoto, Dallas suburb-area… there’s no fish market. You’ve got to go way downtown [or] across town just to get fish.”

The now retired Claude York Sr. sometimes helps out behind the counter. He says his son’s entrepreneurial spirit is in the DNA. “Dad always said, ‘who said you’ve got to get a college degree to start making money? You can make money at any point!’ So I took that to heart.”

Apparently so did the younger York. He’s already looking to open a second location. “Well, the apple don’t fall too far from the tree, as people say,” adds a proud, but laughing York, Senior, “and I hope it don’t.  I know he’ll be alright!”

Keep in mind; all this is happening for a young man who isn’t even majoring in business.

After graduating college the young man envisions his life a little differently. “For the first couple years teach music to kids and then later, after that, go to medical school and pursue my career as a medical examiner.”

York says his fresh fish sells itself. And the young man’s story is also winning over customers. “People are like ‘oh wow! A 22-year-old has his own business?’

Customer Ken Ivy said, “Youngsters these days don’t do that [start businesses] too much anymore. So that’s wonderful that he’s going to pay his own way… very admirable. I’m going to come here just ‘cause of that. But if the fish is good, I’ll come more often.”

Although York is working hard to get ahead — he’s already giving back. Every week, the fish market donates 100 pounds of fresh fish to a local homeless shelter.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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