Dragon Gear store open for business
During a DECA competition last fall, students at Pittsburg High School noticed something about the host school that not only drew their attention but also sparked an idea.
“Blue Valley Northwest had a school store,” Isis Ruiz, PHS senior, said. “We thought that was really cool, and we started thinking about wanting one at our school.”
After months of brainstorming, planning and strategizing, that idea has become a reality.
The Dragon Gear online store – “Your source for Purple Dragons merchandise”-- went live at the start of the 2012-2013 school year. Products range from mugs and license plates to mouse pads and spirit sleeves.
The web address is www.dragongear.co.
The products are designed and printed by students at PHS. They can be shipped to the customers or picked up at the school. All transactions are conducted via PayPal.
Ruiz, who serves as the store manager, said the online store has many benefits for the students and the school.
“This is a great way to draw attention to the school,” Ruiz said. “We would love to see more Purple Dragons stuff out in the community, and this is a great way to help accomplish that. It’s also a positive in that it helps raise money for DECA.”
Amanda Mitchell, 2012 DECA president, said running the store is also a “great learning experience.”
“It’s one thing to learn about the business world and hear about how it’s done,” she said, “but it’s another when you actually do it. Having this store is giving us real-world experience, and it’s teaching us a lot about how things work.”
Linda Garrow, marketing teacher and DECA adviser, said she is proud of the students’ excitement for and dedication to the store.
“One of the main things you want to do as a teacher is motivate students to work hard and do their best,” Garrow said. “With this store, the students are already motivated to succeed. The inspiration is already there, and it’s a beautiful thing to witness. It’s exciting to come to class and watch these students work.”
Ruiz said the store continues to grow and more products will be available as it expands.
“This is just like any other business,” she said. “We have the same goals and the same expectations as any other business. This may be a school store, but it’s a real thing and something we take very seriously.
“We’re hoping,” Ruiz said, “that our students, staff and alumni will get excited about this and get excited about having more Purple Dragons merchandise. This could really get bigger than any of us originally anticipated, which would be wonderful.”
Jon Bishop, PHS principal, is already excited about the store. He purchased more than 200 T-shirts and gave them as gifts to every member of the PHS staff.
“This is a great thing for PHS and for USD 250,” Bishop said. “I love seeing Purple Dragons shirts and mugs and flags all throughout the community, and this will put even more of those items around town. The students should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished and the impact this store will have on school pride.”