Petoskey High School Students Start Coffee Business to Learn Job Skills

A group of students at Petoskey High School created a microbusiness making and selling hot drinks to teachers as a way to learn how a business runs.

Img 5453“To see that they’re gaining skills that will impact the rest of their life is just amazing,” said Heather Loe, teacher at Petoskey High School.

On Fridays in Mrs. Loe’s classroom, students put away their pencils and paper for cups and creamer.

“It feels like a real job,” said senior Gabriel Pierce.

“It’s fun,” said senior Ali Sheaffer. “I enjoy it.”

Loe got the idea to start a microbusiness with her students from a blog.

“One of the things that classrooms at the high schools do for a micro business at their school is a coffee business,” said Loe. “I asked them to just say, ‘hey what do you think about starting this business?’.”

The class took the idea and ran with it.

“We had ideas all across the board from everything from names to how’d it look,” said Loe.

Loe applied for a mini grant from the Petoskey Education Foundation to kickstart her class’ business.

“It really just fit all the buckets. It fit into their curriculum, it would meet their curriculum and it was out of the teacher’s normal budget, and we could supply their startup cost,” said Mary Ling, Petoskey Education Foundation Trustee and School Board President. “Ideally it would be sustained from the profits that they received from their coffee. It’s really like experiential education at its best.”

The business receives about 20 orders a week from teachers.

“I look forward to Friday coffee every week,” said Glen Young, 12th Grade English teacher. “I really appreciate how the students have done a great job with this program this year.”

The students even created a loyalty program for their customers: buy nine drinks, get the 10th one free.

“My coffee order is usually the breakfast blend with a little bit of vanilla cream,” said Young.

Students are learning more than just how a business runs, it’s fostering the students’ creativity and future dreams. Junior Brody Belford designed the logo for the company that Loe put on their aprons.

“My dream job is to be a fashion designer and I find the stuff super fun,” said Belford. “I was real excited because also it’s my first ever design.”

And he, like the rest of his class, will keep on brewing coffee with a purpose.

“We are a great community, and we just get our job done,” said Belford.