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Student greenhouse business grows

May 11, 2007|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - They've sold 13,000 plants in just over a month and are hoping to sell the other 7,000 annuals, perennials and vegetables filling the greenhouse at Washington County Technical High School.

Students in the school's elective entrepreneurship course plan for and help operate the greenhouse, which has been open at the school since April 4 and will remain open until the plants are sold.

The greenhouse is in its third year operating as a self-sustaining business at the school.

Steve Frame, who teaches the entrepreneurship courses and manages the greenhouse, said the students start at the beginning of the school year planning to open the greenhouse.

Erin O'Brien, a senior at the school, said her class helped select the type of plants sold at the greenhouse by researching customer requests and what has been offered in the past.

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The students, with Frame's help, also decide how much to charge for the plants.

Josh Draper, 17, said students considered the cost to purchase the seeds when deciding the cost of each plant in order to make a profit.

Frame said the money made each year at the greenhouse goes to purchase the seeds to grow the plants the following year.

The greenhouse could not operate without the help of his parents, Frame said. Dick and Barb Frame volunteer to work in the greenhouse daily.

"We couldn't do this without them," Frame said.

Dustin Power, 18, and his classmate, Kevin Baker, 17, said they are working on an addition to the greenhouse. Because they also are enrolled in computer courses, they are working on developing a scanning system for the greenhouse that will improve efficiency.

Power said the scanning system would be similar to the checkout at any other store.

Justin Sparkman, 17, a senior at the school, said he mostly worked planting seeds, trimming plants and organizing.

Justin and his classmates, many who would like to start their own businesses someday, said the greenhouse project helped them understand what it takes to operate a business.

"I didn't realize so much went into it," O'Brien said.




Greenhouse hours



The greenhouse at Washington County Technical High School is open Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon.

To learn more about the greenhouse and to view a complete plant list, go to www.scoresup.com/technicalhighschool.

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