As students headed home on March 14, Head of School John Palfrey was one of the first to make a purchase at the new storefront of Parents of Students at Phillips Academy (PSPA) during the official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The store is located to the right of the Evans-DeFelice Theatre Classroom in George Washington Hall where the vending machines previously were. In addition to serving as a storefront, PSPA will use the new space to store merchandise. “Prior to this we were storing all the merchandise in the basement of Bartlet Hall, which was wet, and crowded and inconvenient, so this makes it much easier to access and easier for us to manage it, and gives it more visibility,” said Susan Howell, PSPA President. Howell hopes that its new store will increase its merchandise sales, which will be used to fund student activities. PSPA gives approximately $25,000 to fund student-run clubs, community service projects and the office of Community and Multicultural Development (CAMD), among other initiatives. Construction and design began over Winter Break, and PSPA paid for the project with its own profits, said Howell. “We have not had a store here, so we had to think about what the implications would be, of putting something in and having it here, but they clearly have made the most of this space. It’s phenomenal,” said Becky Sykes, Associate Head of School, who also served as an administrative contact for PSPA. “In the past it’s always been merchandise on tables and trying to fish through bins for people to look at what we had. We wanted to make it visually pleasing, but also easy for shopping, like a regular store,” said Laurie Fraser, Merchandise Director. Fraser and Pam Roche were the main coordinators of the design of the store. “[Roche] has a merchandising background, and in terms of visually designing the space, we were able to draw on her expertise,” said Howell. Currently, the store is scheduled to be open on special occasions, beginning with accepted-student revisit days and Grandparents Weekend this Spring. Currently, the store is staffed entirely by PSPA volunteers. “We’re hoping that the students respond to the space and ask for the space to be open more and show the support, so that we can get multiple days during the week,” said Roche. “Hopefully we can get students involved [in] work-duty jobs similar to those in central services. There are opportunities for kids to come and work with one of the PSPA volunteers,” said Fraser. PSPA hopes that the store’s services will evolve according to the needs of the students and will eventually offer students opportunities to get involved. Fraser said a possible idea to accomplish this is an on-campus design contest for a new Andover t-shirt or sweatshirt. “As parents, we all think we know what merchandise [the students] want, but it’s more important to hear what [the students] think,” said Fraser. “We don’t even have a name for the store yet, so we’re thinking of having a naming contest,” said Tina Kinard, who will be the PSPA President next year.
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