Park High School store offers Business 101 for studentsStudents learn retail, business lessons while running shop at Park.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Nick Lenz, who is headed for a career in business, said he’s learned to relax and take his time with customers.
“The customer is always right,” he said. “It’s my Golden Rule.”
Lenz isn’t getting his business experience working in retail in the community; he’s working during the lunch shift at Park Square, a store at Park High School solely run by students.
In its third year, the store has about 15 student volunteers who run the operation with the advice of Park economics teacher Todd Hyland.
Park student Morgan Green agreed with her friends that working in the store is fun. In addition to her volunteer work in a Woodbury animal shelter, Green said she’ll also list her student store experience on her resume when she applies for a job.
Sean Gill heard about the store from Hyland during economics class. He said he volunteered because he likes doing things that help the school and is considering a business career.
The store is a hub of activity, in addition to keeping students happy with drinks and snacks. Near the entrance, nearly every day, student groups offer information to their classmates on teen issues such as suicide prevention in addition to getting donations for various humanitarian causes.
Some of the newest items in the store, in addition to hats and gloves this time of year, are titanium necklaces and bracelets, Lenz said. There are also fleece jackets that can be used for “letters” earned by students who don’t want to buy a leather jacket.
There are new sweatshirts commemorating the 100th anniversary of St. Paul Park High School in St. Paul Park with the first class starting in 1914.
To help them in classes, the store also sells notebooks, pencils and index cards.
Hyland wants the students to get actual business experience. When there are customer problems, he doesn’t jump in to solve them.
“They can figure it out on their own,” he said. “I’m there when needed.”
The store made a profit last year that benefited students with four $500 scholarships. Clubs and activities also got help, Hyland said.
Student chose to also be part of a new banking system in developing countries. Under Kiva, a not-for-profit organization, four new business owners got $50 each, which will be paid back on a regular schedule.