January 29, 2016 | 2 p.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
As part of their capstone course for their business management degree in Bethel’s College of Adult & Professional Studies, Tamara Berger, Melissa Ketter, and Holly Divine developed a business plan for the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore in New Brighton, Minnesota.
“They were in their capstone course and a requirement of the course is to do a business project for either a non-profit or for-profit corporation,” explains Molly Wickham, program director and associate professor in business. “Three student groups chose to work for Habitat for Humanity in a service-learning project that semester.”
“We chose the ReStore project for several reasons,” says Ketter. “The project sounded interesting and we felt like we would be doing something that would really help ReStore achieve its mission. Also the location was good for all of us in our group.”
Habitat for Humanity’s main mission is to strengthen communities by providing affordable housing to local families in need. ReStores are home improvement outlets open to the public that offer discounted—but still high-quality—home furnishings, furniture, and building supplies. The ReStore in New Brighton, Minnesota, wanted to bring in more customers and they thought a redesign of the store layout might help, along with tracking the strength of sales in individual departments.
That’s when Berger, Ketter, and Divine stepped in. “We were able to lay out the timeline of the project, communicate with stakeholders, and manage the expectations of the ReStore staff,” says Ketter. “We were able to listen to the goals of the ReStore staff and present to them what we felt we would be able to accomplish for them within the time constraints of three full-time students who also have full-time jobs and families.”
The biggest challenge the group faced was the inventory itself, which fluctuated because it came from donations. They had to come up with a layout of the store that was flexible enough to accommodate the changing inventory while still making sense from a retail perspective. They overcame the challenge by creating a designated flexible space in the floorplan.
To read more about the students’ project, visit the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity blog.