May 17, 2022 at 6:31 p.m.
Albany Area High School student Jordan Barker has a plan in place.
As the owner of JB’s Property Maintenance, he provides dock installation and removal, property maintenance, small paver projects and pressure washing services.
What he learned during a Western Stearns CEO program, offered to Albany, Melrose and Sauk Centre high school juniors and seniors, led him down this path.
“This is a good thing for me to build experiences, from the money side of it, to talking with people, providing customer service and just the aspect of how to run a business,” Barker said May 5, while showcasing his business with 16 other students in the program during a tradeshow at the Melrose City Center in Melrose.
This is the third year for the WSCEO program, said teacher James Schreiner, program coordinator. It teaches students the skills and value of starting their own business.
Students apply to be in the program. They learn about operating a business from local business owners invested in the program who serve as mentors. Students visit businesses throughout the school year and listen to guest speakers.
This year’s students and their businesses include: VK Kreations, Victoria Kerfeld-Sauk Centre; Happy Paws, Josi Anderson-Sauk Centre; Instant Auto Accessories, Ethan Mathewes-Sauk Centre; Kimi’s Kandles, Kimi Klassen-Melrose; Cherry On Top Confections, Hailey Hokanson-Sauk Centre; Sharpen Up, Andrew Berscheit-Melrose; Tori’s Paintings, Victoria Blonigen-Melrose; Robins Jewelry, Robin Mergen-Albany; A.M. Designs, Audrey Peifer-Sauk Centre; Simple Soap, Karlyann Boecker-Melrose; JB’S Property Maintenance, Jordan Barker-Albany; The Farmers Extra Hand, Matthew Loehrer-Sauk Centre; Calming Customs, Anna Lee-Sauk Centre; Butterfly Cosmetics, Vanessa Santana-Melrose; Ms. Clean Housecleaning Service, Victoria Wolbeck-Albany; Dragon’s Brew Coffee Co., Jaedon Gillies-Mathewes-Sauk Centre; and Top Notch Detailing, Hunter Goihl-Melrose.
The tradeshow was an opportunity for business owners invested in the program, friends and family to check out the students’ new businesses.
Kerfeld explained to her grandparents, Lee and Josie Kerfeld, what her VK Kreations card making business was all about. She was excited to offer it to customers.
Boecker talked about her business, Simple Soap, that included a product for dogs.
“Simple Dog is a dog shampoo or dog soap. I purchase a goat milk base and add other things like oatmeal and lavender essential oil,” she said.
Wolbeck explained she came up with the name Ms. Clean Housecleaning Service, a fun offshoot of the cleaning product Mr. Clean.
“I’m offering this housecleaning service along I-94 from Sauk Centre to St. Cloud,” she said.
Goihl figured his detailing business, Top Notch Detailing, was right up his alley, since cleaning vehicles is something he does often – and he has gotten good at it.
Klassen said since she likes candles offering this product as her business venture was a perfect fit, and Kimi’s Kandles had a nice ring to it.
Peifer explained how for her business, A.M. Designs, she imprints designs on shirts.
“I love to spread positivity and my own designs include positive affirmations and Bible verses,” she said.
Her business plan includes working with individuals, organizations or businesses, and, thanks to the CEO program, she is realizing a dream.
“This is such a good opportunity,” she said, echoing the sentiments of fellow students in the WSCEO program.