Proceeds from the store are invested back into the business or the school system in some way. The first big project with the money this year was some landscaping on Providence’s campus, and some funds will be used to help greenhouses in the district, potentially yielding some vegetables to sell at the store in the fall.
“We want all of the money that we have to go back into the store or the schools that, in turn, will benefit each of the students that we have in our district,” Carmichael said.
Other purchases for the store could include an iPad to help keep track of inventory and a printer to be more self-sufficient and keep students in the store doing hands-on work.
Part of the final project for students running the store is speaking to a committee about how Jessamine Proud Products has impacted them and what they have learned. Carmichael said she was proud of the maturation she saw in students who had worked in the store in the fall and spring.
“It’s been great to see that when they’re outside of here, there’s problems and all that typical teenage stuff, but when they come to the store, they have really straightened up and they’ve got their act together,” she said.
The store currently has 31 vendors and several more who are signed up to start next school year. Another improvement planned for next year is finding a way to have the store open Saturdays or late afternoons; this year hours were 9-11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
“I know it’s not convenient for the 9-11:30, but I have just those blocks with those students and then I have other responsibilities at East and West high schools,” Carmichael said. “So we’re going to try to work it out to be a little bit more convenient for everybody. Some people were a little upset about that; we just asked them to be patient until we figured out what we could do.”
For those who can’t make it during regular hours, the store delivers and maintains a website accessible from the school district’s main page, www.jessamine.kyschools.us. Carmichael said she hopes to offer online ordering in the future.