Students in St. Johnsbury Academy's Sales and Marketing class are putting their skills to work by rejuvenating the school's Topper Shop.

Located in the lobby at the main entrance to Alumni Memorial Gymnasium and the Academy field house, the Topper Shop offers clothing and other items that help promote the Academy name and brand to the public at-large.

"Our goal is to increase Topper Store awareness by 75 percent, student sales by 50 percent, and online web sales by 50 percent," Sarah Emery, the class's teacher said.

Changes implemented by the students so far include adding a "Topper Cart" for home athletic events and kiosk displays throughout the campus, as well as new promotions.

"The project will culminate with a final push for Christmas Sales," Emery added.

Class members have also organized a photo shoot for the e-commerce website, developed and launched a survey collecting primary source marketing data, created a commercial for a video display system in Colby Hall's first floor hallway, and participated in direct selling events.

Throughout the project, the students are benefiting from suggestions and advice offered by members of the local business community, Emery stressed.

On Oct. 5, for example, Karen McLaughlin, owner of the Frogs and Lily Pads store in St. Johnsbury, visited the class to share her retail experience and window display expertise. McLaughlin's window displays are "a favorite fixture on Railroad Street, and she offered constructive feedback" on window displays promoting the Topper Shop the class has created in Streeter Hall and Charles Hosmer Morse Center for The Arts, Emery said.

"She was very enthusiastic and brought with her several examples of how to set up a successful display," Emery added, calling the development of window and store displays "a critical function of sales and marketing."

"It's absolutely amazing how the community comes forward to help our students succeed. This project has taken the written word and turned it into a reality," Emery added. "By integrating their marketing text ("Marketing, 3rd edition" by James L. Burrow) with the opportunity to re-launch a retail operation, the students' learning is doubly enhanced."

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