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Column: Holiday Secret Shop

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In retail circles, this superstar team has a record that is quite impressive.  Surveys show 100 percent customer satisfaction for their target market of single males and females, 3 to 11 years of age.  They undeniably beat the competition for gifts ranging from $2 to $10, crushing any big box retailer within a one-mile radius of their highly visible Main Street Carmel location. The business masterminds behind the Carmel High School Holiday Secret Shop know their market well and are poised for a record-breaking 2014 shopping season.

The team behind the wall-chart with a revenue arrow pointing to the upper right hand corner are CHS senior DECA Marketing students Sam Johnson, Laura Wagner, Madison Adzema and Dominique Newland.  According to Johnson, the senior team is forecasting a 21 percent increase in revenue compared to the previous year.

But of course, the success of the Holiday Secret Shop is measured in much more than just profit and loss metrics.  It is about providing a fun place for Carmel’s youngest generation to gift shop for mom, dad and siblings as well as provide a valuable learning experience for Marketing Students.  As an added bonus, the effort also provides funds to supplement expenses for the annual DECA state and national competition trips.

During a pre-opening sneak peak inside the store, Laura Wagner, Merchandise Chairlady was as busy as Santa’s elves on Christmas Eve, receiving inventory and setting up price SKU’s on the computer. From windup chattering teeth to a stuffed hedgehog that squeaks, youngsters are encouraged to coax an adult into a shopping trip to Room F107 at CHS.  The store is open from 2:30 to 5:30, Dec. 1 to 5 and Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Cash and checks are gladly accepted.

Once there, each child will be personally escorted through the aisles of gifts by a high school student who is assigned the task of personal shopper and also ensuring an A+ experience. Johnson said, “When I was in elementary school, I remember a high school kid helping me shop.  That was awesome and I think that is what kids who come here remember most.”

Although Sam Johnson couldn’t remember what he bought his mom for Christmas that year, he was highly skilled at promoting this year’s fly-off-the-shelf product.  A multi-colored, kiln-fired porcelain gingerbread house cookie jar, which should bring tears to any mom this season.  But hurry, no rain checks.   Good day, Carmel.

 


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