Breton Downs Elementary fourth-grader Lauren Eckert’s sparkly snowman ornaments, for sale for $2 each, caught the eye of third-grader Brayden Schulz as he shopped at the school’s Mini-Market.
“I bought one because they look adorable,” said Brayden, of the little Frostys.
Lauren was happy for the business. “It’s sometimes hard work and not all people buy them,” she said.
During a lesson in economics, the 52 fourth-graders learned first-hand what it’s like to run a business. Students staffed booths to sell items they created or to offer a service to staff, students and parents. They posted advertising and set prices for their items, said fourth-grade teacher Rachel Ries, who has been hosting the Mini-Market for the past several years.
“It helps them connect to some of the more challenging concepts, like supply and demand and how important it is to choose an appropriate price for their product, ” she said. “They can build off this real-world experience and learn money management skills and build the confidence to be an entrepreneur.”
Each student paid $1 rent for their spot in the school gymnasium-turned-market and used their own money or got a loan from their parents to pay for their products.
Fifteen percent of profits and the rent money collected was donated to The Power of Education Foundation, which supports primary education in Haiti. Breton Downs has an ongoing partnership with the Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organization. Students had their choice of what to do with the rest of their earnings.
Magnets, ornaments, mini-lava lamps, duct-taped wallets, bookmarks, pig figurines and “stress-relievers balloons were among the students’ wares.
Friends Maggie Reszka and Vivan Lamange sold pompons they made with yarn to go on ice skates and shoes. The girls said they have to wait for customers. “It takes time,” Vivian said.
“You have to be patient,” added Maggie.