Northeast special education class opens thriving snack business

A group of special education students at Lincoln Northeast High School started their own business this semester, selling hand-delivered snacks to staff members. 

Students in Tamera Cover’s Home Living Skills class thought of the idea to open what they call the “Little Room Snack Shop.” They pitched the idea to her, then created a PowerPoint presentation for a meeting with school administrators. 

The presentation included results of a survey to find out what items would be popular; a plan for collecting, filling and distributing orders; days of operation; plans for future growth; and ideas for ways to spend their profits (unified sports teams and the school’s clothing collection for students in need). 

Administrators gave their stamp of approval about six weeks ago. Students started taking orders and delivering snacks shortly thereafter. Business has been steadily growing, from 20 customers to nearly 60 by the end of the semester.

“They appreciate the snacks and they appreciate the opportunity to socialize with our students,” Cover said.

The students learn plenty of valuable lessons by running the store. They read spreadsheet orders, write purchase orders, sort and organize orders, and track inventory. They collect and count money, work on time management skills, practice teamwork and conflict resolution, and learn about customer service.

“We get to learn how much money they owe us and how much they get back,” said one of the students, senior Kamari Gaughan, who added that Starbucks bottled coffee drinks were among the most popular items with teachers.

The other students who helped run the Little Room Snack Shop this semester were Ashton Bean, Katie Schultz and Malachi Alley, along with paraprofessional Colleen Shultz.

Published: December 17, 2019, Updated: December 20, 2019