JEFFERSONVILLE – During their grand opening, Kennedy Smith and Max Gast took a moment during a lull in sales to balance the books.
The two students are helping run Jeffersonville High School’s newest venture, a pop-up candy shop selling downtown’s famous Schimpff’s Confectionery’s sweets.
“This is a great way to help with our Business Academy,” said Lisa Stemler, JHS academy coach. “They learn how to inventory, they learn how to do the books and balance the books and everything to getting it ready, to sweeping and cleaning, the whole thing.”
For the official grand opening Thursday, the business drew attention by hosting a selfie-booth, with music broadcasted throughout the hall, thanks to the school’s own radio station.
“They already have great ideas,” Stemler said, adding that students created a candy delivery service throughout the school. “We sat down and brainstormed and I just let them run with it. It’s all student led. They’re in charge. I just oversee [it].”
The shop is part of a partnership with Schimpff’s, who provided the candy to the school at what Stemler said was a good cost, and UBS Financial Services, who donated the start-up money needed to start the business.
“We feel small businesses are the lifeblood of America. It’s what makes America great,” said Joyce Meyer, with UBS.
Meyer watched as students got crafty, creating new ways to package the candy and group them in gift sets to reach more customers.
“We all have tears of joy,” she said of watching the business idea come to fruition.
Students said they enjoyed learning about business ownership hands-on.
“We’re just trying to figure out how we’re going to run a business whenever we get older,” Smith said. “I think it’s actually really fun. I like doing this and I like meeting new people.”
Stemler said though this pop-up shop is only open for a limited time for Valentine’s Day, it will come back throughout the year. She said it is up to the students to determine how often that will happen as well as what to stock to sell.
“It’s real life stuff. It’s owning a small business. Everybody wants to own their own business, but they’re realizing how hard it is,” she said. “That our books have to add up. Our numbers have to add up. So it’s a lot of work involved.”
Principal Pam Hall said this is about making business lessons relevant to students.
“We can do it in a book and talk about how you go through a business model, but to give them the opportunity to research a pop-up shop and how that evolves into a standalone store and … how you would get a loan and how you’re going to do the decorating, so it just brings all the curriculum together,” Hall said. “It brings the curriculum to life.”