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Eagles Nest offers hands-on learning to business students

Staff photo by Connor Cummiskey Business Education Teacher Kayla Ruch, left, and students Cody Binger, middle, and Tayler Heyer, right, stand in front of the new store that sits on the periphery of the cafeteria at the high school.

NEW ULM — Just off the cafeteria at New Ulm High School is nestled a new school store.

The Eagle’s Nest opened its doors at the beginning of this school year and is run by students in the Intro to Business class.

“We have water bottles, planners, pop-sockets for phones, we have got coffee in the morning, we have got hats,” Junior Cody Binger said. “There is just a bunch of stuff you can get here.”

Pop-sockets are phone-mounted circles that pop in and out to form a stand for the phone to lean on.

The store is staffed by students and is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. and again from 11 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.

The store is also occasionally open for events like homecoming, when the store sold $700 worth of product, Business Education teacher Kayla Ruch said.

Each student is expected to volunteer for 10 to 12 hours a semester in the store, though store hours and class requirements may change.

“We are trying to figure out the demand for the store,” Binger said. “If we start selling a lot more products we are going to be open more.”

Ruch, who started at New Ulm mid-year last school year, brought up the idea to the administration, which agreed.

The nest is teaching students soft skills, or 21st Century skills as Ruch called them. That includes: professional dress, communication, participation and more.

“Attendance — showing up on time,” Ruch said. “Are you showing up before your shift, are you showing up five minutes late? We do not want that happening in the real world, right?”

The rubric measures students in nine skills on a rating from one to four, four being best. It also includes an undercover shopper review.

“We are going to have mystery shoppers come into the store and they are going to let me know how they were treated,” Ruch said.

The store is driven mostly by the 27 students in the business class. They do the research and decide what the inventory is going to look like.

That means the store is targeted toward students, supplying them with things like highlighters and binders they need for class.

“I thought it was just going to be clothes that were overpriced and no one was going to come in here and buy anything,” Binger said.

“I think students will come in here more knowing that the products are for students,” he added.

The store is far from students only, though. Ruch said that clothes come in sizes from toddlers to adults.

Currently the store is working to become self-sufficient. Eventually Ruch hopes they can do some upgrades like buying a point-of-sale system to track inventory and transactions.

“Now we want to work on making a profit and having enough revenue to continually have the school store stocked so we would put (profits) back into the store,” Ruch said.

To stay up-to-date on what events the store will be open for, find it on Facebook at New Ulm High School Eagle’s Nest.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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