The class began working on the project in August, completing several steps needed to start their own business. The initial steps included developing a mission statement, finding a location for the store, completing letters of application and resumes, and doing mock interviews with potential store workers.
All of the activities involved have provided class members with the genuine experience of starting a business from scratch, as opposed to just reading about the process in a textbook.
The students found that they had to work with the local school board and administration to gain their support for the business, and they also had to examine regulations relating to the Healthy Kids Act.
One of the final steps the participants completed was working with local banker Karl Nelson to explore the actual process involved in taking out a small business loan. Nelson was very gracious in providing insight into the process and he also gave the students a sample business plan, and challenged the students to return with a formal business proposal which examined such areas as the business's "target market" and potential for growth.
When the students successfully completed this activity, they moved on to the phase of purchasing the store's inventory, which culminated in the December 3rd grand opening. They participated in a field trip to select all of the products to be sold in the store, and as a result, students may now buy school supplies such as pencils, pens and notebooks, as well as personal items, like lip balm and ice scrapers for windshields, at Eagle's Soar 'N Store.
Student input guided most of the decisions that were made in moving the project forward, with students taking turns serving as "Chairman of the Board" to lead class sessions. Acting as a Board of Directors, the class utilized a "brainstorming" session to come up with the store's name, "Eagle's Soar 'N Store".
In the process of getting to the point of opening their store, the students gained a lot of "real-world" experience, such as a delay in the store's targeted opening date, due to the successful playoff run by the Eagles' championship football team.
Students in the Introduction to Business class serve as the workers in the store, and the class determined the times that the store would be open, which are from 8 a.m. to 8:20 a.m., as well as during 'Eagle's Nest' time.
The Eagle's Soar 'N Store is working with several school organizations, such as the Booster Club, to support its efforts in the Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn school.