CPHS DECA club opens student store
Opening a student store isn’t an easy task. Just ask Clover Park High School DECA advisor Kitti Wheeler, she’ll tell you all about it.
When Wheeler was hired at CPHS four years ago, she stepped into a position that had been vacant for more than a decade. There wasn’t a DECA program; there wasn’t a student store; and marketing classes weren’t offered at the school.
“When I came here, there was no culture of having marketing or a DECA program,” Wheeler said. “So that’s one thing we’ve been trying to establish–that culture.”
Wheeler began by making presentations and recruiting students she thought would flourish in the new program.
The biggest challenge was opening a student store at the school for the first time in more than 12 years.
There were a lot of hoops to jump through, including health department requirements and making sure the goods they were selling fit healthy food guidelines. Finding a location was another challenge.
“Most teachers, when they get their job, the store is already there,” Wheeler said. “My students have seen all the stages of writing a business plan, doing the research and pricing. They’ve seen every step it takes to open a business.”
At first, the student store was just a mobile kiosk. Not having a sink limited the types of products students could sell. This year, things are different.
The CPHS student store opened in October as a permanent fixture. Students sell snacks, supplies and Italian sodas. They even make deliveries to staff members.
“Mrs. Wheeler had a vision; but we didn’t have anything when I started as a freshman,” said CPHS senior Brianna Ramey. “Everything you need to do to open a new business, like the health department check, we’ve had to do from the bottom up.”
So far this year, the CPHS DECA program has earned more than $11,000 from the store, which is used to pay for the club’s expenses. In addition to the store, students also sell stickers, apparel and award plaques.
“Earning more than 10 grand starting from nowhere is pretty remarkable,” said senior Sasha Courtright. “The skills we learn and what Mrs. Wheeler offers to us is something I personally won’t ever forget.”