Kristy Messner is the coordinator of The Pencil Box, the school store at the Belle Fourche Middle School in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. She took a few moments to tell us about their school store.
“The Pencil Box is the name of our school store at the Belle Fourche Middle School. It is run by a group of our middle school students through our after school program. We are so happy with the success of our store. We have nine employees and we’re open M-W-F mornings before school, and T-Th after school.”
“We opened the store to give kids the experience of working in a retail outlet. We know this experience will help them as they move into high school and want to work part-time. They learn about pricing, advertising, stocking, and customer service. They use their math skills, communication skills, and leadership skills while working for the store. The kids have a pretty good idea on what will sell, so they pick out the merchandise most of the time.”
“We have also started doing print jobs for people. We make posters, flyers, cutouts and more. We are going to start taking pictures of different groups, like the football team and turning them into posters. It fits quite well into our school store.”
“Our store is mobile. We designed carts that open up and have shelving and pegs for hanging merchandise. We have grown since last January 2015 when we opened up, and have added a second cart.”
“The one tip that we have is as follows: we are only open for a short time each time, and it would get very busy. We were having trouble with shop lifters and we decided not to have any merchandise on our tables out front. We have made displays with the merchandise on them. The shoppers tell us what they want and we get it for them. This has worked much better and cut down on the shoplifting.”
“The kids enjoy working there and they are learning so much. It is a great experience and we encourage anyone who is thinking of opening a store to go ahead with it.”
A big thank you to Kristy Messner and the Pencil Box for sharing their great story.