Suzanne Falcone oversees the school stores at both East Hills School and Harbor Hill Elementary. She trains the students to operate a school store through the schools’ Enrichment Workshops, a program designed to give students hands-on experience. She took a few moments to share some great information about her school stores.
How do the school stores work?
In the beginning of the year I give out applications with a deadline. The students come to a general meeting where I go over the jobs: manager, sales clerks, order clerks, price setters, stockers, cashiers, website designers, PR reps, Ad reps and receivers. I then meet with them in small groups to teach them and show how they play a big role in the development of the store.
Once all the Ad reps make posters, they post them around the school. The website designers us WIX.com and create the website, adding pictures, videos and information updating everyone on when the store will open.
PR Reps write an email blast for the parents, as well as announcements that they say in the cafeteria and over the loud speaker.
Order clerks and price setters sit and decide on what products we need and based on the cost decide on a price to make a profit. They then use the iPad and place the order for inventory. Once the order comes in, the receiver opens the box and checks all merchandise in. If something is missing they call the company.
Stockers take inventory after each sale to let order clerks know what we need more of.
Managers help the student shoppers find and purchase items. Sales clerks are in charge of a price point and those are the items they sell. We have receipts that they mark off if someone buys something from them.
The customer ends at the cashiers. Cashiers add up the receipt and check out the customer. They also count all the money after the store closes.
What sorts of skills do your students learn in running a school store?
Based on the above, you can see that there are an enormous amount of skills they are learning. Responsibility is a big skill. By putting them in a situation where they are building a company from nothing, they’re learning real life skills.
All the details need to be in place in order to have success when the store finally opens. They learn about profit and loss, advertising skills, math skills, people skills, public speaking and writing skills, website design and much more.
If someone was going to start a school store, what's the best piece of advice you can give?
Start small! I started 4 years ago and was so overwhelmed! Now, I have it down to a science and it made the grand opening of our second school store at Harbor Hill Elementary that much easier.
Also, student cashiers really need to feel the pressure in training of what it's like have a bunch of kids trying to check out and having to add quickly and make change. It is tough, but they get it and when they do it is amazing!