Everything You Need To Start a Student-Run Shop

School stores teach students real-life work skills while also increasing revenue for the institution. If you want to start this awesome venture in your school, get things up and running by reading everything you need to start a student-run shop.


Although you want as much student involvement as possible, you need at least one adult manager. Some schools assign a teacher from a specific class, like a high school accounting or marketing teacher or a middle school math teacher. In other institutions, a parent volunteer oversees the shop.


The idea of a student-run shop relies on student workers. While having an adult manager to oversee the store is important, the majority of duties fall on students.

Your administration should select a team of reliable students to run the operation. Rotate people through different jobs so students can build various competencies (i.e., bookkeeping, inventory, and sales). To make this an enriching opportunity, have older students apply for openings to give them job interview practice.


A solid location is another thing you need to start a student-run shop. Ideally, you want a central location for adequate visibility. Many stores operate near the cafeteria, library, gym, or auditorium. This is because students are most likely to visit these places throughout the day. However, all schools are different and may not have available space for a shop. An alternative to a fixed location is a mobile cart—take the school store to the students!


The most important part of any store is the merchandise! The shop needs a good range of products for students. Purchase school supplies in bulk and sell notebooks, pens, folders, and other essentials. Furthermore, the shop can sell branded gear like T-shirts with logos or exclusive crewnecks. The idea is to sell items that students want. You all can include small toys, candy, bottled water, and other novelty products too.

Store Hours

Common operation times for school shops are lunch times, before and after school, and during events like athletic games. Consider who is available at these times—high school kids don’t always need adult supervision, but younger kids require a teacher or parent present during operation hours.

Financial Management System

Like any store, tracking profits is critical to student-run shops. You need a financial management system to manage sales, inventory, etc. Stores need a cash box and receipt book for transactions. The adult manager should track daily sales to ensure they align with inventory. It’s best to have both a physical and digital accounting system to oversee everything.