The ribbon was cut on the newly renovated student store inside Bradley Central High School Friday.
Teachers said this meant students were getting real-life career experience while still in school.
Teacher Brittany Cannon said teachers were brainstorming a few years ago about ways students could apply what they were learning in their business and marketing elective classes. That spurred the idea of opening “The Cave,” a store in the school that allows students to run a business selling snacks and Bears team apparel to classmates.
The renovation of the store is just another step in growing the school’s business and marketing program, teacher Heather Bischof said.
“These students are getting hands on experience as entrepreneurs while they earn business and marketing course credits,” she said. “It’s a win-win situation for them.”
While the business and marketing students have primarily been running the store, students from other career education classes got the chance to gain experience while working at “The Cave.”
Interior design instructor Angela Kersey tasked her students with redesigning and overseeing the renovation of the store last fall.
The class was split into two design teams, led by students Annie Carol Gautreau, Emmy Beavers, Marlowe Phelps, Gabby Montagna and Kate Smirnova.
Students were required to make scaled design plans that included a new front counter and display shelving. They also had the challenge of staying within a budget, so they solicited donations from local businesses to get everything built the way they wanted.
Both design teams presented their ideas to the business and marketing students, and they ultimately chose to combine ideas from both designs.
Then, Judson Barber’s construction students got to work on removing the old iron bars that perviously served as a door to the store as well as a wall to create more open space.
The business and marketing students got help from Greg Kersey’s criminal justice class, which performed a security assessment on the store and for their fall semester final exam project presented two scenarios to keep it secure.
Cannon said students will also be helping keep track of the store’s inventory and sales using a point-of-sale system purchased earlier in the school year. Accounting students will help keep the business’ books balanced.
Bischof said the future of the business and marketing program at Bradley Central will come with opportunities for students to do things like earn college credits.
Students who work the school store currently receive a work-based learning credit in either business or marketing, depending on their focus elective.
However, Bradley Central is in the process of partnering with Cleveland State Community College to offer the school-based enterprise program as a dual credit where students will earn a college credit in entrepreneurship.
Lisa Pickel, director of existing industry at the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce, was on hand Friday with the big pair of gold scissors the Chamber uses for ribbon cuttings at new businesses throughout town.
She said she has been serving on an advisory committee for the school’s business program to help share what kind of work experience businesses might be looking for from future employees, and teachers have been working to allow students to gain that kind of experience.
“It’s great to see what the kids have done,” Pickel said.
The bulk of the student store renovation took place during the latter part of the most recent fall semester.
Biscof said it was closed for the three weeks to put finishing touches on it. The store has been blocked from students’ view until the day of the ribbon cutting so it would all be “a surprise”
During the ribbon cutting, school principal Todd Shoemaker said he was proud to see students had been using what they had learned in class to complete such a project while they were in school.
He said he also appreciated how students and faculty from various CTE programs at the school had worked together to improve the student store.
“Our students have gotten real-life experience by having this store,” Shoemaker said.
Profits made from sales at “The Cave” go toward supporting the school’s academic programs. The store is open during regular school hours.