Area businesses help teach entrepreneur skills to High School and Middle School students

Minisink Valley faculty continuously look for innovative ways to reinforce the real-world applications of what’s learned in the classroom. Often, this includes inviting area business owners into the schools to visit students to talk about their own experiences, which is a great reinforcement of school district/local business connections.

Bottoms Up, Slate Hill 

One recent visit was from alumni Bryce and Kathy Flynn, owners of Bottoms Up Restaurant and Pub in Slate Hill. They spoke to members of the Seth Johnson’s High School’s Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club about entrepreneurship.

Mr. and Mrs. Flynn talked to the group about their journey into entrepreneurship and spoke to club members about the characteristics of a good leader. They stressed it’s important to never stop learning, having dedication, paying attention to detail and respecting everyone, adding: “Never ask a person to do something that you aren’t willing to do yourself.”

The restauranteurs answered students’ questions and as an activity, students were tasked with creating and pitching a “new” menu item that the restaurant would serve. As part of this, students needed to come up with an appropriate price point for the item based on several factors. Mr. and Mrs. Flynn offered advice and feedback on all of the items presented.

A delicious bonus of their visit was that the Flynns graciously bought some dessert items from their menu to share with the club members.

Ben’s Fresh, Port Jervis

Victoria Ingrassia’s eighth-grade FACS students were also recently treated to a lesson in entrepreneurship from Chef Bobby Geraghty of Ben’s Fresh in Port Jervis.

As part of Mr. Geraghty’s visit, students presented their food truck projects. Ms. Ingrassia tasked them with creating a specialty food truck, including naming it, developing and pricing a menu, researching acquisition equipment costs to get their food truck ready for business and determining where (and why) they’d look to base their food truck in order to create awareness and sales. Mr. Geraghty listened to their presentations and offered comments.

Later, Mr. Geraghty spoke about the work it takes to open a small business, beginning with the concept of how to compete in the marketplace and initial capital start-up costs (for a food truck, he told students to plan on having $30,000 to $$50,000 for start-up costs). He also spoke about how owning and running one’s own small business includes knowing how to successfully handle staffing, payroll, emergencies, seasonal issues, pricing and profit margins as well as all behind-the scenes operational issues that customers will never see.

He reminded them that as a small business owner, a person is responsible for all aspects of daily business operations and can work long hours beyond the standard business day. Mr. Geraghty added as a small business owner, a person has to accept that on some days, business is great and beyond expectations; and on other days, business is not good due to uncontrollable factors.

Mr. Geraghty reminded students that a business management degree can be extremely helpful in acquiring the needed skills to run a business and being an integral part of one’s community is important. He said he relies on social media platforms to promote his business and stressed to students that it’s important to love what you do. By working hard, he said, a person can help maximize his/her small business’ success. The financial rewards can be great, he added, as long as a person understands and accepts the ups and downs of running a small business.

Thank you to Bottoms Up and Ben’s Fresh for their support of our students!