Students in the newly-designed Entrepreneurship course at Tappan Zee High School have been taking note of businesses in our community that have successfully pivoted to survive during the pandemic. “They’ve looked at how these businesses have adapted and are applying those same practices to reopen Z-Mart,” said teacher Darrell Flynn.
At the start of the school year, the space had been temporarily reconfigured as an office. However, with the support of Principal Rudy Arietta and help from Head Custodian Matt Dapolito, the office furniture has been relocated. Last week, students washed cookie sheets, sweeped floors and cleaned ovens and display cases.
Freshly-made chocolate chip cookies are the best-selling item in the entirely student-run and funded enterprise and will return on the reopening menu, along with other favorites. But Flynn and his students are introducing a number of innovations to modernize operations as they implement pandemic health and safety measures. Since customers will be required to socially distance as they wait to make a purchase, Entrepreneurship students are building a website (zmartstore.org) to support online orders for pick up and contactless payment via Square. The virtual store will also sell Z-Mart vouchers which can be gifted to students. The Z-Mart Instagram account (@zmart_tzhs) will be used to market directly to students in school or at home.
“This experience has been useful because, for those of us who plan to own our own businesses in the future, it has given us a good start with understanding how difficult it can be in hard times and how to adapt,” Patrick observed.
Z-Mart is slated to reopen before the end of January. In the meantime, students interested in business careers should consider Entrepreneurship as an elective. “Entrepreneurship interests me as a career and everything we learn is something we can apply,” noted Ciaran, who plans to major in a business-related field in college. “These are real skills that you can add to your arsenal.”