Magazine article Techniques

School-Based Enterprise

Magazine article Techniques

School-Based Enterprise

Article excerpt

What is the STORiole? The DECA STORiole is a school store operated by the Marketing Management and DECA students at St. Louis Park High School in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The name is a result of combining the school's mascot, which is an Oriole, and the word "Store," hence, STORiole. Coming up with the store name was the easy part. But why should a marketing educator choose to add the responsibility of a school store to his or her workload?

It was my third year teaching, and I was searching for a way to engage my students in the marketing curriculum, as well as showcase the marketing education program. I wanted the students to put what they were learning to the test and see if it is indeed applicable to the business world. I wanted to answer those hated questions, "Why do we have to do this?" and, "Am I ever going to use this in the future?" If students could transfer their knowledge from class to their jobs in the school store, they would be equipped with the number-one skill employers are looking for in employees-transfer of knowledge from one area to another efficiently and quickly.

School stores are an excellent way for marketing teachers to teach the transferable skills and "soft" skills that employers are looking for: the ability to communicate, interact with customers, work with others, be a part of a team, adapt and learn. The marketing curriculum must incorporate high standards and multi-tasked activities that are challenging and thought provoking. It is our job as marketing educators to equip our students with the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to be successful in the future workforce.

Starting the Store

Once I had decided I was going to engage my students with a school store, the two most critical questions that needed to be answered were: where will the store be located, and how will the store be funded?

Fortunately, in my case, the volunteer office was moving to a different location, and I put a bug in the principal's ear about using that space for a school store. The room is approximately 700 square feet, a perfect size for a full-service store. The location is ideal. It is in a high-traffic area next to the lunchroom.

The money we received to start "the DECA STORiole" was made possible through a $3,000 state education entrepreneurship grant. We also received $500 from a local entrepreneur, Erik Bloomquist, owner of Colonial Craft, who is the father of a student in the marketing program. Therefore, with a little luck and help from the state, our concept was starting to materialize.

It was time to get started. We formed an advisory committee made up of students, teachers, administrators, parents and local businesspeople. We formed four departments and established the major duties of each:

Marketing and Sales

* develop a survey to question students about the product mix

* create a contest to name the store

* plan and promote the grand opening

* contact vendors/suppliers

Finance/Operations

* set up a business checking account

* maintain and analyze business expenses

* buy and set up a cash terminal

* design forms for money and the cash terminal

* set prices and PLU numbers for products

Human Resources

* develop an employee handbook

* train students on business policies

* design an application and other forms

Store Design

* design the store layout/blueprint

* construct the store interior

* design and craft the exterior store sign

The advisory committee members were eager to get involved. …

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