AKRON, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Akron Market on Main Street in Akron has all the goods you need-- cheese, coffee, jam and some small gifts. But there's something unique about this store, it's run by students at Akron Central High School.
Two years ago Brian and Jayne Perry bought the market because they didn't want to see an empty store front right on Main Street. Graduating from Akron Central High School years ago, Brian Perry says he wanted to bring a business class to the high school where students could get a hands on experience.
"Working with the high school principal and superintendent they agreed it would be a good thing to allow the kids to actually come and work in the store," Perry said. Students are not behind the cash register all day, but instead are behind the scenes making the business decisions.
Students from all grades are learning about inventory, product development, marketing, and customer service right in their hometown.
"It's being able to understand how business works, how hard work pays off, the customer service aspect, putting others before yourself," Karen Saeli said. She teaches the entrepreneur business class at the high school.
"I took everything for granted, I didn't realize how much work was put into it," Savannah Winter, a senior and one of the six students in the class said. "The expenses, the rent, paying people like everything," another classmate Ava Smart added the class has been eye opening.
The shop sells many local products from artisans and farmers. The jewelry section is extra special as one entrepreneur student, Annie Leeds, is able to sell her own bracelets.
She's only a sophomore and lives with Mitochondrial Disease, having multiple health problems. She has created the Annie Leeds Adventure Fund to help chronically ill children have a day out and be able to do things outside of the hospital. Whether that's going to Darien Lake or just out to eat. She has raised $8,000 for Oishei Children's Hospital.
"It warms my heart that they are buying them and they like them," Annie said. She adds the class is helping her grow her business and learn the ins-and- outs of what it's really like to run a brick and mortar store.
The store has it's own motto, One Town, One School, One Family.
Saeli says it's all about teaching the students about community and how important it is to help when you can and try to support the town as much as possible.