October 12, 2015 8:15AM
Nearly two years after opening its doors in downtown Pittsburg, the student-run Krimson Kultuur store is proving to be a successful business venture and a training ground for future business leaders.
Suzanne Hurt, adviser for Pittsburg State’s Enactus group, said the store is enjoying substantial growth over its first year in business. The store, located at 508 N. Broadway, sells items created by local and international artists.
“Our sales are up more than 30 percent over this time last year,” Hurt said. “Our students have done a remarkable job of bringing in quality items from a variety of local and global artists. The community has really supported us, and we’re quite pleased with how things are going.”
Cecilia Franco, Enactus vice president, said the store’s success is a result of “listening to what people want.”
“We seek input from a variety of people to find out what type of items they want to see in our store,” she said. “We want the store to be the best it can be for the community.”
Later this year, the Krimson Kultuur brand may grow beyond the Pittsburg area.
“We’re hoping to have online ordering available by the holiday season,” Franco said. “We think adding the online component will be very important to the store’s success and further growth.”
While increasing sales is the goal of any business, the Enactus-run store has another valuable component.
“We are getting experience in here that we wouldn’t get anywhere else,” said senior Kensey Deal, who began interning at the store this semester. “We are pretty much in charge of everything, and that’s a huge responsibility. We’re getting to learn what it takes to own and run a business.”
Jeffrey Yankovich, Enactus president, said working in the store gives students the chance to use the knowledge they learn in class.
“When we’re sitting in managerial accounting, we know exactly what the teacher is talking about because we’ve done it,” he said. “Working here is showing us the day-to-day experience of overseeing a business, which expands upon our classroom lessons in a practical and valuable way.”
The students also use the store to improve the lives of several unemployed community members by providing customer-service training opportunities.
“One of the things we’re most proud of is offering those training opportunities to the unemployed, because it’s something they can put on their resume and hopefully help them in the job market,” Hurt said. “We get tremendous support from our community, and we want to give back by supporting the community.”
The Community Employment project is supported with funds from the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, the Pritchett Trust and the Women’s Health Fund. The money goes toward training programs, resume enhancement courses and the purchase of professional clothing that can be used for interviews.
Sarah Freeman, senior, said she enjoys the community outreach aspect of the store.
“Not only is it a great experience, but it’s also a wonderful feeling to know we’re helping,” she said.
Plans for the store include opening a small coffee shop, an addition that has the Enactus students working with Pitt State technology students.
“Our School of Construction students are working with us to help us know what type of renovation work will be needed to add the coffee portion,” Hurt said. “They’re going through what would need done structurally and how we could design the shop. We’re very grateful for their support and assistance.”
For more information about Enactus, visit http://www.pittstate.edu/college/business/sife/index.dot.