Entrepreneurial Students Open Uniquely U Store in UCHS
The store presents engaging hands-on learning for students with clear applications to life and entrepreneurship.
By Nancy Cambria
Director of Communications
When it comes to school spirit, you can never have too much Black and Gold – or snacks to keep the energy high.
That’s the thought of a group of student entrepreneurs at University City High School who last week unveiled the Uniquely U shop. It’s a new school store run entirely by students in David German’s Entrepreneurship 2 class.
The store is open every day after school from 2:20 to 3:15 p.m. and Wednesday mornings from 6:50 to 7:20 a.m. It is located near the Balson Avenue south entrance to the high school. The store will also open during special events. These include high school parent-teacher conferences on Sept. 26 and 27 and the Homecoming football game on Oct. 5.
Not only is the store stocked with healthy snacks and beverages for sale, but it also has a growing inventory of school spirit wear, including T-shirts and hoodies designed by students. The hope is to sell a whole line of U. City spirit wear utilizing the ideas and creativity of students. German said students recently designed a fantastic Homecoming T-shirt that will be on sale soon. And another pink T-shirt recognizing Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also on in the works.
Business is already brisk.
“We did over $100 worth of sales after school yesterday,” German said. “There were nine kids standing outside the door waiting for the shop to open.”
German said the store presents engaging hands-on learning for students with clear applications to life and entrepreneurship.
“They can think through problems creatively, collaborate, and show grit when engaged in the store,” he said. “I’m surprised at how good the kids are at this already. It’s amazing, two students programmed the point of sale register entirely on their own. The students are coming up with great marketing ideas. And then there is the amazing T-Shirt that a student-designed for Homecoming. It’s really cool.”
It took work and preparation to open the store. The students began planning last spring while in an Entrepreneurship 1 class with German. They came up with a list of needed start-up supplies and a business model. This summer German posted a Donors Choose page to appeal to the public for donations. Through the page, the class raised more than $1,000 to buy a merchant style refrigerator for beverages, wall and floor display shelving, hangers, and a glass-fronted display case for snacks.
When word got out about the planned store, other donations came in, including $500 from Black Entrepreneurs Inc. Another person donated the point of sale cash register from Square.
“They can think through problems creatively, collaborate, and show grit when engaged in the store,” said teacher David German. “I’m surprised at how good the kids are at this already. It’s amazing, two students programmed the point of sale register entirely on their own. The students are coming up with great marketing ideas. And then there is the amazing T-Shirt that a student-designed for Homecoming. It’s really cool.”
Behind the scenes, the eight members of German’s class continue to learn the ropes about retail and management. The students are currently split into groups: a design team in charge of developing the look and layout of the store; another team to create clothing designs and other inventory; a finance team to keep the store in the black; and an advertising and marketing team that is already utilizing social media. Check them out on Twitter @UniquelyUCHS, on Instagram at uniquelyu_UCHS and on Facebook at uniquelyUCHS. Everyone staffs the store.
Profits will be used to improve the store, provide seed money for other student entrepreneurial projects and create a charitable fund to help other students afford functions that they normally could not attend.
The students also have bigger plans. They hope to open up a small lounge area in a room next to the shop. German said it would be a place for members of the store staff to do their homework and collaborate after class hours on ideas and projects.
The students currently involved in the store are Netsanet Belachew, Taiyanna Clark, Amoray Cunningham, Chloe’ Easter, Mhari Harris, Aliyah Mitchell, Areanna Whittington and Gunnar Wurst.