Third-grader opens school store

Amelia Burke models items from the school store she's opened while standing in front of the school store mobile cart.

Amelia Burke models items from the school store she's opened while standing in front of the school store mobile cart. Courtesy

For the Monitor

Published: 11-27-2023 4:50 PM

Meet 8-year-old entrepreneur Amelia Burke, a very ambitious third-grader at Center Woods Elementary School in Weare.

Driven by an idea and willingness to work hard, Amelia has made her dream of having a school store at CWES a reality.

The Center Woods School Store is now open and running on a mobile cart stocked with pom-pom winter hats, T-shirts, and sweatshirts emblazoned with the Center Woods name or eagle mascot. Coming soon to the store are pencils, erasers, water bottles, and more. Why on a cart? When there is an event at school, like the recent UA fair, the store can move into the lobby. Plans also call for the cart to be moved from classroom to classroom for special sale days.

“One day my mom asked if we had a school store at Center Woods. When I told her we did not, she told me I should start one. So, I scheduled a meeting with Principal Potter to ask about it, and the idea took off,” said Amelia.

Why did she want a school store? “At the end of 3rd grade, we all leave CWES for Weare Middle School. We should have something to remember this school by. It also shows your spirit,” she continued.

Ameila’s next step was to set up a business meeting with Miss Potter and the school office manager, Miss Erica, to decide what merchandise to sell, find vendors for the merchandise they wanted to sell, and how much to charge over cost to fund future purchases. They do strive to keep items in the store priced as low as possible. For example, a T-shirt is $12, a pom-pom hat is $14, and a sweatshirt is $26.

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“Amelia has experienced one of the not-so-fun parts of running a business and one of the hardest parts of this project – waiting for the items to be approved, ordered, and then delivered. Everything had to go through the normal school district procurement process with approval needed from the building principal, the SAU 24 business office, and the Superintendent,” said Principal Potter.

As the school store project evolves, Amelia keeps meticulous notes in her business plan notebook. For example, when they decided to offer a discount on items purchased by students who have received an Eagle Eye (an award that occurs when a teacher notices a student doing something kind or helpful), they needed to figure out how much of a discount they could give and still turn enough profit to make future purchases. Amelia recorded all these calculations and decisions in her business plan.

When we asked Amelia what career she thought she’d like to pursue, we expected her to tell us she’d own a company or work in fashion merchandising. No, not Amelia. She told us firmly that she wanted to be the art teacher at Center Woods Elementary. We have no doubt she’ll get there.