SCRTC Students Start Shop

The Commons is a small shop at Calais High School just across from the main office. The shop offers a variety of items for students to purchase and gives business students the opportunity to get experience working with a business. The register area was constructed by the school’s Tech Ed program from the remnants of the old school bleachers. (Photo by Kaileigh Deacon)

By Kaileigh Deacon

The students at St. Croix Regional Technical Center take classes in subjects that give them not only an education but skills they can use outside and beyond the classroom.  While the skills in building trades, automotive and CNA courses are most obvious, the take-home skills from the center’s business program may not seem obvious to all. 

Business program instructor Kati Grass has given her students a new opportunity to work on putting the skills they are learning in their class while providing a service to the students of Calais High School and SCRTC. The Commons is a store at the Calais Middle High school that offers a variety of items to students and staff, such as pens, pencils, paper, snacks and even a hot cup of coffee. 

The store started as an idea last school year as a way for the business class to have a hands-on project to show their skills the way the other SCRTC programs do. The idea started when the SCRTC business program had their first full-time students in years and they wanted to do more. After tossing around several ideas, the store officially opened in January of 2018. To name the store, the program held a name the store contest where suggestions were submitted and then voted on by the class.  The aim was to be as inclusive as possible to make the students from Shead and Woodland High Schools that take courses at the SCRTC feel as welcomed as the Calais students. 

The students in the Business program handle just about everything there is to do in the store giving them the sense of owning and managing their own business. The students work in the store selling the items, handle the inventory, work with the financials and clean and maintain the store. 

Through their work students get to see what pricing items is based upon, what it will cost the customer and seeing how both affect the bottom line in profits. The experience enables them to further understand how pieces from their other classes pertain to their work. 

“Our focus is the service to the students,” program director Kati Grass said of the store. 

While the store currently is only open during school hours and caters to the needs of the high school students, they, like any successful business, are looking toward the future. The program has hopes of expanding the store and reaching out to the community. With help from other community businesses, the program hopes to soon be offering school apparel and other offerings like travel mugs and bumper stickers. To give the community a chance to support the store, they are looking to be open during basketball games and other events at the school. They are also catering to the technological side of business and looking to create an online presence that would allow people to order from them online and possibly have items delivered within the school. 


The money raised by the store goes back into the business program for supplies as well as benefits for the students to reward their hard work. Program Director Grass would like to see the store flourish and grow to the point where a portion of the profits could be used to fund a scholarship to be given to a student seeking a career in business.