Are you trying to raise funds for a field trip or new classroom equipment? Would you believe that there is a way to earn cash for these while teaching your students how they can apply the skills that they are learning in school to the real-world? Running a school store in your building is a profitable enterprise. Here is how to make the school store work for you!
1. Choose a location.
School stores don’t have to take up a lot of space. Spare rooms are hard to come by in a school, and you may not have a corner in your own classroom to use specifically for running a business. Plastic storage bins or cardboard boxes are all you need to keep the store functioning. Keep all the merchandise and files for your school store in these. When it’s time for business, items for sale can be displayed on desks or tables. A portable store is convenient because it can travel from room to room or be set up in the cafeteria or playground where students are sure to notice it. No matter where you set up shop, keep it accessible to students, teachers, and even parents who need to make a purchase.
2. Select merchandise.
Suppliers have catalogs containing hundreds of novelty items, school supplies, and products that can be personalized. Your goal is to make money, so what is it that your students will need and want? Look for supplies that students use in your class every day. Pencils, erasers, notebooks – the list of tools they need goes on and on! The school store can easily turn a profit when it carries the things that kids must have to be prepared for class daily. Also, keep an eye out for trendy items that are popular with your students. Many times, you will find themed items, supplies decorated with your students’ favorite teams and characters. Kids also like supplies that are scented or have different textures. Your customers – old and young – will want unique items too. Choose products that can be personalized with the name of your school or a slogan that your student body identifies with.
3. Manage your money wisely.
First, don’t panic if you have nothing to use as a start-up fund. The beauty about ordering products from a company like Geddes is that they have 30-day billing cycles. This gives you a chance to sell the items that they send you and then pay your balance after your store has been in operation for a while. When you price the items for sale, you will want to consider not only what you are paying the supplier for the cost but also how much you can profit from the sale of each unit. You may only make five to ten cents on the sale of small items, but you will see that those nickels and dimes add up quickly! For items that cost more, like mugs or t-shirts, you can create pre-order forms and have your customers pay ahead so that you are sure to have the bill covered when it arrives. Keep careful track of how much you are spending and how much you are earning. In no time, you will have the funds you need to put towards those special trips and purchases you want to benefit your students. Also, extra money can be used to buy more merchandise for your store.
4. Plan and collaborate.
Use your school calendar and daily schedule to help you decide when is the best time to operate your school store and what to fill it with based on upcoming events. Sports seasons, holidays, and special units of study will influence your choices. Meet with other teachers to learn what they need their kids to have when in their classes. Working together in this way can benefit everyone!
What do your customers need to know before shopping at your school store? You must tell them when your school store is open for business, where it is located, and what kind of merchandise you carry. This vital information can be posted in areas that see a lot of student and parent traffic. Add quick blurbs in your school’s daily announcements to cover this too. These details can be sent in emails or in regular notices that students bring home. Any time you have sales or special deals, be sure to convey this information to your customers as well.
6. Enlist help.
This is one of the best parts of a school store. Kids will love to help with the operations of a school store. You may choose to involve a few volunteers or have your entire class lend a helping hand. Kids can help decide what merchandise to carry, create advertisements, and even sell the products for you. Use the school store for dozens of practical applications that can be taught in lessons about math, reading, writing, and money management. Running a school store can be profitable for everyone!