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Holmen Students Put Lessons to Work in Pop-Up Store, Raise Money for Area Family

Tuesday, January 11, 2022
holmen crowd
The holiday pop-up store at Holmen High School raised money for an area family.

Holmen High School’s week-long holiday pop-up store has been a tradition since 2009. Born out of the entrepreneurship class, the holiday store is team-taught and facilitated by marketing teachers and DECA advisors Heather Breske and Haley Hesselberg. “But it is student-driven,” Breske said. This school year’s store ran from December 11-16, 2021.

The entrepreneurship class started in September when names were picked for the model store staff. Students involved in the project were all seniors with high grades, and they had to be voted in. And that was just the beginning. They were divided into departments found in most retail operations: management, promotions, human resources, operations/interactive media, and sales.

When students started planning the store, school store manager Chloe Lichucki and human resources department manager Madeline Beinborn thought the $10,000 goal staff set for themselves might be a bit ambitious.

“I’m surprised we set a goal that hard,” Lichucki said.

Nevertheless, they hoped this year’s recipients, the Nelson family, would see the whole amount. Ryan passed away suddenly in August, leaving his wife, Nora, and three children, one with special needs, who all attend the school.

Soon, students chose the store’s theme, Bundled Up, and a store slogan, “There’s Snow Place Like Holmen.”

holment students
Holmen High School students Chloe Lichucki, left, and Madeline Beinborn, right, helped plan and operate the pop-up store.

As planning progressed through the fall semester, the class visited several small businesses in the area. Students got a firsthand look at the many tasks that go into making a small business successful — lessons that helped them direct their own planning.

The biggest challenge? “Keeping the class on task when we were working altogether,” Beinborn said. “When we were in smaller groups, it was easier.”

“After all, we’re still a bunch of 18-year-olds, we get distracted a lot,” Lichucki said, adding that she has gained an appreciation for classroom management.

“As an instructor, you have to let go ... it’s sometimes unstructured,” Breske said. “But they come together and get to apply what they’ve learned.”

The store signed 19 vendors, including crafts, candy and food, Tastefully Simple, Pampered Chef, school apparel, and more.

“Students met with vendors and negotiated contracts,” Breske said, sharing an example of the hands-on practice they received.

The student-run store totaled $5,788 in sales, with naming sponsor Kwik Trip picking up the remaining $4,500 difference to the original goal. More than $12,000 was donated to the Nelson family.

“I learned how to get vendors and how a consignment system works,” Lichucki said. “I just think it was a good opportunity to increase my leadership skills.”

“I’ll remember all the work that went into the store, knowing we succeeded in reaching our goal, and that we helped community members,” Beinborn said.

Subscriber submission: DPI’s Career and Technical Education team