Why Open a School Store?
It’s a Win – Win – Win situation!
- Raise Funds - Opening a successful school store can help tremendously in reaching your school’s fund-raising goals!
- Convenience - A school store provides students with a place they can always get needed supplies.
- Teaching Tool - Operating a school store can be a valuable teaching tool. Students learn responsibility that comes with organizing and tracking sales, inventory, purchasing and profit margins.
How do you open a School Store?
- Location – Whether your school store is a small room, a rolling cart or simply a table, locate your store in a high traffic area. In or around the lunchroom is ideal! Just make sure to have a place to lock up merchandise for the night.
- Advisor – Typically, a PTA member or teacher can be enlisted to head up the program.
- Hire Students - Announce to the school that applications are being taken for students who wish to work in the store. Depending on the size of your school you may need several people to run the store or just one or two if your school is small.
- Product Supplier – These days it is more important than ever to spend your dollars wisely. Student Supply offers quality merchandise at competitive prices and . . . FREE Shipping! You can place your order online, by phone, mail or fax. If you’d like a catalog click the “Free Catalog” icon & we’ll send you a copy today. Questions? Call our toll free number; 800-426-6351. We are eager to answer any questions you may have.
- Product Line –
- The Basics - Start out with basic supplies such as pencils, erasers, sharpeners, paper & notebooks. Student employees are a great source for determining which products to sell – kids know what kids like!
- Teacher Recommendations - Listen to teacher suggestions. They have definite ideas about what students need for the classroom.
- Exclusive Products - Definitely think about adding custom imprint items to your store. Get your school name & mascot printed on pencils, dog tags or zipper clips – They are terrific sellers and exclusively yours; your customer can’t get them anywhere else!
Our customer service staff will be happy to suggest some best sellers. Be pro-active and reorder your best sellers in plenty of time. Also, refresh your product line with new merchandise to keep customers coming back to see what’s new.
Let us know if there are particular products you’d like to see us carry. We welcome suggestions!
- Attract Customers – You already have a school full of customers. All you need to do is bring them in!
- Advertise - Bring in the business by advertising over the school intercom & hanging posters around the school. Hand out flyers promoting product offerings. You can even hand out coupons for a free pencil just for visiting the store.
Important: Post clearly the hours the store will be open and the location.
- Decorate - Use balloons and streamers and maybe a school banner for the grand opening!
- Become a Hub – Make your school store the “go to” place; Post a school calendar with events and important dates. Sell tickets to school dances or football games through your school store.
- Don’t Forget the Parents – Parents can be a huge support for your store. Send home product order forms featuring long-time favorites like custom school bumper stickers, water bottles, stadium cushions and other spirit boosting merchandise.
- Keep Customers – There are lots of ideas for attracting customers; keeping them coming back is crucial.
- Customer Service – Store employees should always provide knowledgeable and courteous customer service.
- Product Availability - Product selection and stock should be monitored on a regular basis.
- Hours of Business – Choose convenient times for your store to be open and be consistent with those times.
Build a relationship with your customers and they will come to rely on the school store as a good shopping source.
Once Your School Store is Up & Running, it’s Time to Tend to Business
Keeping accurate records of inventory purchases, product sales and store profit is key to running a successful school store.
- Track Sales –Use a cash register or a calculator (preferably with a running tape) to keep track of sales. Every morning count the money you start with. At the end of the day, count the money you end up with. Invest in a locking cash box to keep money secure.
- Take Stock – Check inventory levels daily or weekly depending on your school store traffic. Pay attention to top sellers and everyday products. Reorder in plenty of time to avoid running out of popular merchandise.
- Do the Math – Have a profit margin goal and make sure you are meeting those goals by maintaining your gross profit margin:
Gross Profit = Selling price minus the cost.
Gross Profit Margin = Gross Profit divided by sales.
Stay on top of your gross profit and profit margin:
Stick to these few simple procedures & your school store will be easy to manage.