From Saint Matthew School
Making the leap from playing store to actually running a real business can be challenging, but also exciting as the students in Tyrone’s Saint Matthew School Entrepreneurial Program discovered. The student run business The Rescue Aid developed a brick and mortar Christmas Bazaar store from the ground up.
“When the school was contacted by an out of the area business about setting up a store where students could do their Christmas shopping, we felt that creating our own store would be an amazing real-world business experience,” said Steve Stoner, program advisor. “The students had already completed courses on capitalism, economics, and marketing and planned several service projects so transitioning into creating this actual business was the natural next step.”
“When Mr. Stoner talked with us about the chance to open our own store, everyone said yes!” exclaimed Hannah Narehood, the Chief Executive Officer of the student company. “The idea of finding products to sell and creating displays sounded like a lot of fun.”
The young business owners soon learned that having an idea and having the finances to make that idea a reality involved a lot of work. “One of the first things we did was create vision boards where we included the types of products we would like to sell,” explained Chief Financial Officer Grayson Vaughn. “Then we added up the cost to buy everything and found out we would need a lot of money. That is why we went to our Home School Association and made a presentation asking for a loan.”
Saint Matthew Home School Association is a parent run organization that supports student programming at the school. Home School President Heidi Simondale was impressed by how knowledgeable the young business owners were and their financial presentation. “As a business owner myself, it was obvious that they had spent a lot of time researching product cost, determining profit margins, and looking at their customer base in order to come up with a loan amount request. Our members enthusiastically approved the loan at five percent interest. Principal Wiley and Mr. Stoner were adamant that they learn that acquiring backing has a cost, interest, and it needs to be calculated into your business plan. This project is a perfect example of how our group can support the students and staff, plus my preschool daughter can’t wait to go shopping.”
Once the financial backing was obtained, the students made final decisions on the products to purchase. Elyana Hewitt, Information Officer, added, “After looking at a lot of different sites, we decided to ask people from Tyrone who made things to see if we could sell their products.”
Supporting local artists and businesses was a very important lesson for this group to learn,” said Stoner. “It is so easy to go online and order something made elsewhere, but when you have the chance to support your neighbors, we need to make that effort. This is the same type of loyalty these young businesspeople need to foster if their store is to be successful.” Featured at the Christmas Bazaar were products from Timbernation, Warriors Mark Candle Company, Djdays Stained Glass, The Brew Coffee and Tap, and Gardner Candies.
The Christmas Bazaar was open for a week in mid-December. “Our marketing people made posters, flyers and even a commercial about the store,” shared Public Relations Specialist Avery Wright. “We posted pictures of the posters and the commercial on the School’s Facebook page. We had so much fun!”
As a service company, all profits are used to support charitable endeavors. The students selected the Miracle League of Blair County as the recipient of the profits from the Christmas Bazaar. “When we read about the Miracle League, we felt it helped kids our age who really wanted to just play baseball,” shared Narehood.
“After we paid back our loan, the interest, and other expenses we earned $307.16 in profit to send to the Miracle League,” interjected Vaughn. “Having all this fun and still being able to help someone else is the best! It is a chance to live our life as Jesus has told us to do.”
Additional pictures and information on this student run business can be seen by visiting the Saint Matthew School Facebook page.
[Photo: Saint Matthew School student entrepreneurs from Tyrone donated their profit from running a Christmas store to the Miracle League of Blair County.]