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Bridgeport Gifts and Apparel Opens

Alex Hartung thinks the people running the Bridgeport Gifts and Apparel store in the CVTC Business Education Center have a good idea of the types of things students want to buy. That’s because they are students themselves.

And for instructors and staff wanting to decorate their offices and cubicles for Halloween, “This is the place to come. We try to stock everything for holidays,” said Hartung, the head of the promotions team for the Enterprise Marketing and Management course students who operate the store in Room 213.

Bridgeport officially opened for the semester Thursday, Sept. 27, with a plateful of cookies and enthusiastic students to greet CVTC customers who stopped by to shop.  The store is open Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays
8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Thursdays 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Fridays 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Watch for future announcements as hours change through the school year.

The store includes a variety of high-quality gift items, from CVTC apparel to baby gifts, holiday and other decorations, a few snacks, and a variety of just plain fun stuff. Students in the class made decisions on what to offer, the pricing, merchandising, and other aspects of running the business. They staff the store, plan and implement promotions, handle human resources issues, and make agreements with merchandise vendors.

“Students get an applied learning experience at opening and operating a small business,” said instructor Carol Robarge. “They do everything and I try to let go. I want them to see how their decisions impact the bottom line.”

General manager Jolynn Rusin, a third-semester Marketing Management program student, said students can target their experience to their interest.

“We get to choose what team we want to be on,” she said. For her part, Rusin came to CVTC already with some background in sales. The class and the store give her the chance to pick up management experience.

“That’s going to be beneficial to me in the future,” she said.

The students take their roles in the business very seriously, and are anxious for people to stop up and check out what they have to offer.

“We have high quality customer service,” said Hartung. “We try to interact with everyone who stops in.”