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story.lead_photo.caption Chris Lawson (left), general counsel for Fayetteville Public Schools, hands over a fleece pullover to Kaly Atienza (right), a junior at Fayetteville High School, as Lawson makes the first official purchase Thursday while Skyler Vaughn (center) and Sam Meullenet look on during a grand opening for Bulldog Co., Fayetteville High School’s school store, at the school. The store serves as a project of the Small Business Operations class at the school, giving students experience in operating a business. - Photo by Andy Shupe

FAYETTEVILLE -- Business students chatted with classmates, teachers and visitors during lunch time Thursday while they made purchases at Bulldog Co.

The new store next to the Fayetteville High School cafeteria sells a variety of school spirit apparel and is the product of a semester's long labor by the Small Business Operations class.

Bulldog Co.

Bulldog Co. will be open during the lunch periods Tuesday through Friday. The class will also have a kiosk at Fayetteville High School’s home athletic events.

Source: Fayetteville High School

"They have worked so hard," business teacher Chris Clarke said. "They had to go through the frustrating little things and learned you can't get immediate satisfaction."

But the work doesn't end now. Clarke's students said they are making work schedules, fixing a few technology kinks and building a website so anyone can sport the specially designed Bulldog apparel. They'll also keep track of what sells and what doesn't to continually improve their inventory.

Sophomore Cooper Clark said the store provides an educational experience that reading a textbook cannot.

Many of the students in the class said they plan on going into business-related fields after college.

The knowledge and the skills learned in this class are transferable to life outside high school, said Sandon Williams, program coordinator of business and marketing technology at the Arkansas Department of Career Education, which approved the class' grant application for start-up money.

Fayetteville High is one in about a dozen school-based enterprises across the state, Williams said.

"What we hear from all across the state is that students aren't coming to work prepared. This provides them with the place to practice those soft skills they'll need," he said.

The real-world experience of running a store can help educate students about business in general and look good on a resume, and it can also help them realize what aspects they excel in and enjoy, students said.

"It's student led and student run," Clark said about Bulldog Co. "The class has shown me how many different types of people it takes to run a business. Everyone brings something different to the table."

Lulu Oliver said she wants to start her own business and the class taught her "even if it is your business, you still have to go through so many people. You can't just make every decision yourself or do it all."

NW News on 01/19/2018

Print Headline: Students launch in-school business

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