What began as an idea pitched by Stephanie Lane – a technology integrationist at Green Hills AEA – will be brought to life Monday through the effort of students of Creston Community High School’s Communication and Services Technology program.
On Nov. 30, “The Crossing” – a student-run retail store – will open its doors. The executive team – comprised of Sydney Pantini, president, Brodie Wallace, vice president, Cole Strider, treasurer, Anna Mikkelson, secretary, and Rylie Driskell – are currently coordinating what will be available for purchase at The Crossing. The effort is in partnership with Creston Booster Club, Green Hills AEA, CAST, and Union County Development Association.
“It’s a partnership ... so we are going to be selling their apparel as well as our own designs,” said Wallace. “In the long term, we would love to have the art students selling some of their projects, same with the Career Technical Education students.”
Pantini said the student team came up with the name, designed the logo and mapped out the “moving parts” of the business.
“We started from the bottom,” she said. “As soon as they came to us with the idea, we were all in ... It was something we all immediately felt passionate about.”
Research and development
To start, students researched what other schools had done in similar scenarios and developed ideas and strategies to make a successful venture in Creston. The students originally had intended a brick and mortar location for The Crossing, but chose to explore other options due to factors such as the cost of building rehabilitation and difficulty securing funding. Ultimately, the group decided a transportable trailer would be the best fit in the community.
“What we liked about the trailer is we could have it at the school for events and then we could pull it uptown if we wanted to do a weekend sale,” said Pantini.
The project was awarded $6,800 in funding from Creston CWC, which the group used to purchase a used vending trailer from Tim Gray. Currently, the students are making the proper modifications to fit what is needed of a retail store while also working to get the trailer wrapped.
The store will be staffed with student volunteers, with the profits going back into The Crossing. Members of the executive team said the nature of project is a beneficial learning experience for students involved.
“We learned a lot of the tedious business stuff that a lot of high schoolers wouldn’t know,” said Wallace. “We got a bunch of real world experience through this that the average student wouldn’t have.”
Pantini says the community feedback has been extremely positive and that the experience has taught the team lessons unachievable in a classroom setting.
“The support has been great and I think that has to due in part with people not being used to seeing students take on these kind of projects,” said Pantini. “The UCDA helped us a lot with writing grants and business plans.”
“We would go for business coffees on Friday and members of the community would tell us how they like the idea and offer help. It’s been great,” said Wallace.
The Crossing will be making it’s grand opening Nov. 30 during Small Business Saturday in the Fareway parking lot, 105 E. Adams St.