What’s in store for the futureVenturing out of high school and into the real world can be a little scary for a teenager.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Venturing out of high school and into the real world can be a little scary for a teenager.
Through the two school stores at Farmington High School, students have the opportunity not only to learn about business operations, but to get a little hands-on experience.
The Tiger Snack Shack has been around for a couple of years already, formed in the old high school building. A student-run concession stand, kids order product and handle money. They get real-life retail experience, all by simply going to school.
But this year, with the opening of the new Farmington High School, students have an even better opportunity to get those essential retail skills. An apparel store open in the building teaches even more students even more aspects of the business world.
The FHS school store has included apparel for several years, said business teacher Lois Luecke, who oversees the store. In the old building, though, the inventory was limited, simply because there was not a lot of available space. When there were big events at the school, the inventory would be wheeled out on silver carts. After those events, the carts went back into a closet until the next event.
But now, the Tiger Shack is open, and it is run entirely by the students.
In her first-year business classes, Luecke teaches the basics of retail operations. That means students aren’t just learning one specific topic.
“They get the accounting, math, advertising and promotion aspects,” Luecke said. “Everything you need to run the store.”
As students progress through the classroom portion, they are gradually filtered to either the concession stand or the apparel store to get that practical, hands-on training.
The class seems to have become pretty popular, too. Where Luecke had about 30 students a semester last year, this year, she has 60 students per trimester.
“It’s been quite a challenge to rotate all of them through the store and make sure they know what they’re doing,” she said.
Some students only do one year in the store, but others find it something that gives them a good base of experience for their future.
Seniors Bekka Peterson, Haley Luhman and Alexia Rains have all found their own little niche in the store. Peterson and Rains plan to pursue business majors after high school. Luhman is interested in accounting. All in their second years with the school store, they are in management positions at the Tiger Shack.
Moving into the new store space took some planning, they said. Last year’s business classes looked through vendor catalogs and picked out spirit wear to sell. A core group went out to other school stores to see how they were designed. Everything along the way was exciting, they said, from learning how to build displays to even just picking out what types of shelving would be purchased.
“I like how we have an area to show off our school spirit,” Luhman said. “People can come in and feel that Tiger pride atmosphere.”
The pride extends through all of the students who work at the school store. They all take turns working at either the Tiger Snack Shack or at the Tiger Shack. They build displays, they track the inventory. Every aspect of the store is run by students, Luecke said.
“I like the real-life experience,” Rains said. “I like that it’s what running a business would be like.”
Ask just about any local business owner, and they’ll say that community involvement is pretty important. That message has not been lost on the school store students.
For the past several years, proceeds from the school store have been donated to Toys for Town. Money raised at the store is also put into scholarships for students.
“We’re trying to get more involved in our community, too,” Luecke said.
In the next few weeks, school store students will plan a holiday sale at the apparel store to drum up a little extra business and make some more money for Toys for Town. It’s something new for everyone involved.
“We didn’t really do that in the past because we didn’t have a store,” Peterson said.
The Tiger Snack Shack is open all day during school days, and during evening events at the building. The Tiger Shack is usually open before and after school, and during events in the building.