Entrepreneurship and business management skills cannot be learned solely through a textbook. The development of those kinds of skills requires real-life practice.
At Glynn Academy, students in the marketing and management pathway receive both a classroom education as well as a chance to try their hands at running a business.
The class operates a store run by the students. In a space connected to the classroom, a shop that sells school merchandise, snack foods, gifts and more is set up for students and community members to shop.
“It’s a fully-functioning store as far as everything Glynn Academy,” said Cindy Perry, the pathway instructor.
The store’s merchandise is constantly changing, based on the time of year and the sports seasons.
“The kids designed the t-shirts,” Perry said. “They designed the cups, the mugs. They do marketing research as far as what other students want.”
The store is open Monday through Friday from 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Community members are able to come on campus to shop there but must first check in as visitors at the school’s front desk.
The students also set up the store at sports games and other school events.
“It’s just like a miniature version of a business, so it’s good experience,” said Mitchell Kent, a junior in the class.
The student-run store has operated at Glynn Academy for 10 years. The experience teaches students about customer service as well as management, Perry said.
“They’re learning how to run their own business, from the financial component of it, setting up the store every day, making the deposit, paying the vendor,” she said.
At the start of a semester, when new students are learning the ropes of how to operate the store, returning pathway students will guide them and have the opportunity to gain some leadership skills.
All money earned by the store goes back into supporting the operation.
“Everything in there is completely paid for,” Perry said.
Next year, she said, the students hope to have a website that can offer online ordering.
“We haven’t ventured into the e-tailing, but we’re starting the e-tailing component next year,” she said.
Kerrigan Fallon, a senior in the class, said she most enjoys selecting the merchandise that will be sold.
“The best part is you get to design materials,” she said. “We’ve designed the t-shirts and pick out the products that we sell here.”
The students learn more than textbook concepts by operating their own business, Perry said.
“It’s a great learning experience for the students,” she said.
Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.