For those who want to wear their school pride, the Eagle Gear School Store in the Franklin County Technical School is stocked with everything from tee-shirts, pens, travel mugs and much more.
The good news is, the store is also much easier to find now that it’s in the main corridor across from the Cosmetology program. Construction of the new store began last summer and was completed in December. The store reopened for business during the second week of January.
“This is one of the best locations we could have chosen,” said Philip Foisy, Pre-Employment Program Vocational instructor. “The traffic of patrons going to the Apprentice Restaurant has to pass right by here. Business has been fantastic since we opened. This location puts us on the map.”
The store is operated by the Pre-Employment Program, a small, but effective program that works with special needs students with developmental or cognitive delays aged 14-22-years-old on educational and living skills. Academic skills such as reading, pre-algebra, and critical thinking are practiced daily. Life skills, such as cooking, laundry, recycling; and shop trade skills like woodworking, auto detailing, and building maintenance give students a better chance for future independent living and job placement.
PEP students are involved with running the store and they’re working as if they were in a retail establishment at a mall or on Main Street. Foisy said students work the cash register, make change, hand customers a written receipt, track inventory and any other store duties such as cleaning and arranging displays. Students also contribute their input when purchasing new products to be sold in the Eagle Gear School Store. They further helped to make displays and props for the store: such as the blue painted leg that is used to display the FCTS athletic socks.
The students who work at the store undergo training with a PEP teacher to become adept at working with customers, running a cash register and completing other retail tasks. Students volunteer their time for store duty and work with PEP staff: Ms. Stafford, Mr. Ellis, Ms. Carey, Mr. Gaffigan, Mr. Choleva or Mr. Foisy who alternate shifts throughout the week.
“The students get practical experience working with the public,” Foisy said. “It gives them an air of authority and professionalism. The mission of the store is to give the students the experience of running a small store, building confidence and creating stronger self-esteem.”
The store carries not only tee-shirts, pens and travel mugs, but also water bottles, baseballs, baseball hats, button down shirts, sweatshirts, sweat pants, safety glasses pencils, work gloves, and much more, all emblazoned with the Franklin County Technical School logo.
Several new items are for sale, including a pen that is also a fractional ruler, level and screwdriver, all for the cost of only $3, and knitted winter hat for $12.
“All of the money we make goes back into the PEP store account to buy new products,” Foisy said.
The Eagle Gear School Store is open during lunch time Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Orders may also be taken over the phone and left at the front desk for purchase when the store is not open. The school store accepts cash or personal checks made out to FCTS.
It is the policy of the Franklin County Technical School not to discriminate on the basis of homeless status, sex, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, transgender, gender identity, creed, color, national origin or disability in its educational programs, activities or employment policies.