Students at Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School serve up flavored cappuccinos and hot chocolate twice a week throughout the day to their fellow students. The students aren’t doing it as part of a work study program. No, this is a completely student-run coffee shop: Brooks on the Grind.
Run by members of the Business Club at Brooks—with limited supervision from the Brooks Entrepreneurship teacher and Club Sponsor, Scott Steward, the coffee shop raises money for the Business Club and offers real-world business experiences and opportunities for club members to interact with their school community. The idea for the shop was generated by Club members.
“I got interested in the Club after taking an economics class with Mr. Steward. He encouraged me to come to the Business Club meetings after school, and I really enjoyed them, so I kept coming back,” said Ke’ara W., 17, a Club member.
The students manage the coffee shop like any other business. Before starting the shop they developed a formal business plan, did market research within the school by leading focus groups with teachers and students to learn what kinds of products they would be interested in purchasing, and they advertise their business using signage, flyers, and business cards. Brooks on the Grind even has its own Facebook page and Twitter feed .
According to Brooks senior Wesley H., 18, the students first conducted research amongst their peers to determine what items would sell best with their target audience. Then the young entrepreneurs purchased various items in bulk at a wholesale retailer, using either their own capital or a loan of $25 obtained from Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship , and set up a store to vend their wares after school. Like any savvy businessperson, the kids reinvested the profits in their other businesses.
Wesley said, “I’ve learned a lot about running a business from the Brooks on the Grind shop. When I go to college next year, I definitely want to study business. I’m just not sure which field of business is right for me.”
The Club meets once a week to discuss new possible business ventures, and also to confer about Brooks on the Grind. They talk about what has been working well for their business, what changes might need to be made, and better ways to promote their business. Student-run enterprises like Brooks on the Grind are an ideal way to let kids apply what they’re learning in their business classes by giving them real-world experiences that help prepare them for a career.
Learn more about Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy High School