High School entrepreneurs serve up what’s needed.
GDS Hoppers are nothing if not enterprising, and last year many 10th grade students let it be known that they wanted the school to provide them with more variety in snack options. A few friends, with the support of dean of school life Quinn Killy and the Student Staff Council, came up with a plan and in May 2018—during High School exams—launched the Hop Shop (currently also called Storey McStoreface™) for students seeking an alternative to the usual vending machine fare.
Founder Jonah Docter-Loeb ’20 said, “I was interested in business and gig economies, so when my entire grade rose up and demanded milk, I thought that there could be an opportunity. After looking into buying milk in bulk, I began to search for other snacks. I then realized that not only were the vending machines incredibly expensive, but they were marking it up an absurd amount.”
The Hop Shop team selects a charity of the month to which it donates all of its net proceeds. Since reaching full sustainability recently, Monday sales typically pay for the week’s worth of inventory. The rest of the week generates significant charitable donations. This month’s projections indicate that $1,500-$1,750 will be donated to Karadah Project International, an organization bringing sustainable solutions to Iraq and Afghanistan through nearly a dozen different projects. Previously, the Hop Shop donated $234 to Days for Girls, a global movement that prepares and distributes sustainable menstrual health solutions to empower girls who would otherwise miss school during their monthly periods.
The Hop Shop (located in the Internet Cafe) offers about 25 different products, including candy, trail mix, dried fruit, instant macaroni and cheese, tea, microwavable popcorn, Chobani Greek yogurt, Smucker’s Uncrustables (mini peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), and Capri Sun. Most items cost about $1, with the most expensive (and popular) product being the Starbucks Frappuccino chilled coffee drink, at $2.25. With the goal of providing more options at more affordable prices than the school vending machines, they welcome inventory input from consumers. Currently, half of the products sold are the result of student input. They are rolling out more intentional selections now around dietary restrictions and food allergies, and students can expect to see items marked for food safety in the coming weeks.
Roughly 20 volunteers decide what to sell and take turns ensuring the operation runs smoothly from 7:30 a.m to about 5:00 p.m. on school days. “People may not always pay attention to the specific charity we are raising money for,” said Anjali Bose ’20. “But we know that more people purchase—and feel good about what they buy—knowing that profits are donated to a charity selected by Hop Shop staff.”
“We are always looking for charities for donation,” Jonah said. “We are also seeking partnership with contacts in the food industry. We would greatly appreciate anyone helping us build a connection.”
So while we cheer on our athletes and applaud our talented actors and crew members at school plays, we also can say a collective “Go Hoppers!” to those motivated souls working behind the scenes to feed our students what they desire.
Contact Jonah Docter-Loeb ’20, EJ Joseph ’21, Ben Share ’20, Aidan Banerjee ’21, and Alex Green ’20 to join the team of students running the store.
Not to be confused with our GDS School Spirit Store at www.GDS.org/SchoolStore
.NOTE: A version of this story first appeared in the PSA High School newsletter
In the Hopper. We are grateful for their reporting.