Students learn to run business
By Scott Bellile
An annual downtown pop-up store is again allowing people to Christmas shop for New London Bulldogs fans while supporting future business professionals.
Run by New London High School students, Percy’s Pro Shop operates through Jan. 31 at Water Street Vintage, 207 W. North Water St.
The store’s hours are weekdays from 10 am.-6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Percy’s Pro Shop kicked off its fifth season in business on Nov. 1. Melissa Porath’s School of Enterprise Marketing students handle the planning, the hiring of student workers, and the staffing after school hours.
Store managers Parker Fermanich and Addy Graber said the store doubled its inventory this year and sales were strong during the first month.
The staff added new Bulldogs sweatshirts and Nike and Under Armour apparel. Shoppers can find more Percy’s Pro Shop staples such as T-shirts, sweatpants, baseball caps, winter hats and mittens and non-clothing merchandise.
“I think we have some of the best products we’ve ever had right now and all the Nike and Under Armour things we’re expecting to go really fast, so the time would definitely be now to come and check out things while they’re still there,” Graber said.
“We have the best apparel in the area and the friendliest employees,” Fermanich added.
Also managing the store this year are Reegan Franzmeier, Josie Hintzke and Josie Tuchscherer.
Porath said her students have done a fine job of exploring creative but inexpensive marketing tactics to get more feet through the door, such as a lunchtime fashion show and appearances by the Percy the Bulldog mascot at sporting events.
“Every year we’re trying to increase our sales, increase our customer traffic,” Porath said, adding that all proceeds support the high school DECA program and student scholarships.
Fermanich and Graber said managing Percy’s Pro Shop has been a valuable experience as both consider pursuing a business degree at a four-year college next year.
They said they have learned important skills such as accounting, marketing and managing inventory.
“Once I got involved in Percy’s I really noticed what I wanted to do when I was older,” said Fermanich, who plans to pursue a business management or finance degree.