10 Country: The Christmas store - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: The Christmas store

^ Donna Robb, teacher ^ Donna Robb, teacher

December 3, 2002

Sylvester-- Many retailers still worry about holiday sales, even though Wal-Mart had a record-setting day last Friday. One holiday gift store sees encouraging sales like the big retailer.

One of the country's youngest co-managers of a real department store leads her class to unlocking their futures. Ten year-old Alissa Boyd and several of her classmates own and operate the Holly Christmas Shop at their elementary school. "I like a lot of responsibility, and I like to work," said Alissa.

At the grand opening of store, that stays open only seven school days, they get their first indication of a month's worth of real-world economics lessons like the sale of Pokemon cards. "Last year, we sold a pile of them," said James.

They got a pile of customers on opening day. They looked, touched and made Christmas music for aspiring business people. The Christmas store is the brainchild of teacher Donna Robb, who takes education beyond books. "I believe in students applying learning in a real-life atmosphere," said Robb.

If they didn't make enough profit from the store, their educational trip to Disney World is in jeopardy. The teacher wanted to make sure each one of her students got as close to a real-world experience as possible, to the point that each student had to apply and get interviewed for their job.

"Six people were trying out for it, and I got it," said security officer John White. The students got encouraging news mid-way through opening day. "We've been doing pretty good, so far. A lot of people have been stopping by," Alissa says.

Children don't have to buy anything, but Cornelius Burks was as a big spender, buying ten dollars worth of items for someone special. Their business plans calls for a profit of $1,500 from the Christmas store to fund their special trip.

But already, co-manager Alissa Boyd and her fellow students are on a real-world business trip without ever leaving home. The Christmas shop idea began six years ago with a $1,200 loan from a local bank.

And, the first day of sales were good, like some of the bigger stores reported this holiday season.

posted at 1:38PM by dave.miller@walb.com