On Monday, December 21, Blind Brook officially welcomed the new school store, the Blind Brook Marketplace. After years of functioning without a physical store location, the School Store club opened a storefront to sell their goods daily and accommodate students. The Blind Brook Marketplace is open during 5th, 6th, 7th, sometimes 8th period, and after school from 2:30 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. where their offered goods expand from just school supplies and popcorn to candy and chips.
The club started off as the “Middle School School Store,” which was founded by Bryan Weintraub and several other current juniors when they were in 8th grade. With the support of Ms. Lambert, these students were able to peruse their interest in business even before entering high school.
“I want to go into the business world, and while retail isn’t exactly the path I’d like to take, it’s still business, and still really fun,” Weintraub said.
While explaining the origins of the club, Weintraub said, “We really got our start with Balloons in June, which is an annual event in which people order balloons for graduates and we deliver them to the houses of graduates. The next year, as we entered high school, we brought the club with us, and continued the work we had been doing.”
Currently, the store’s price for food (popcorn, candy, drinks, etc.) is $1, and the prices for schools supplies range from 50 cents for supplies like erasers and $4 for items like staplers and boxes of pens. About 20 students are included in a rotating schedule in which two students are assigned to one period. Before being added to the schedule, a student must complete an application. Community service is also rewarded to those who help sell.
Right now, the money that the school store raises is being used to pay for the storefront opening. Once that debt has been paid off, the money will be used to “decorate the store and make it a more functional space for us to work and display our products in,” Weintraub explained, “Eventually, within a few months, the money will start going back to the school”. In the past, the money the school store has raised has helped fund the second water refill station in the school.
Although it has taken a long time for the club to establish a place to sell their goods, it truly displays the commitment that those involved have for this store. Lambert, who has watched the school store develop and grow since its inception, is very impressed with the commitment the students have expressed, saying “I am very proud of them because lesser individuals might have walked away a long time ago and yet they’ve maintained the optimism and the grit to continue to peruse it.”
There are many hopes for the future of the school store. Possible new products include clothing, Blind Brook water bottles, etc. Ms. Lambert hopes to see seasonal products, birthday cards, balloons, and other items that are currently unavailable to the students. The club is also trying to organize a trip to the New York Gift Show in late January in order to be exposed to new product ideas.
Beyond the products and commerce involved in the market, the store has offered an amazing learning experience for those involved.
“Running the Blind Brook Marketplace is one of the most rewarding things I’m able to do at school, because it’s so much more of a real-world experience than any of my classes,” Weintraub said. “It’s a chance for me to feel like I’m actively making a difference in the school, which is really exciting.”