Bear Necessities looks to benefit school, DECA participants

Offering members unique entrepreneurship experience


Nico Udris ‘19, a DECA member, is working the store during first lunch. Udris is one of the 20 volunteer workers on DECA. Those who work the store get a discount on goods.

The school’s chapter of DECA recently opened a school store called Bear Necessities. DECA is a nonprofit organization that allows students to explore entrepreneurship and gain experience in business through competitions. The store was opened to reduce expensive competition fees by as much as possible while still having a profit, and to increase the accessibility of DECA to everyone at Blake. Additionally, having a school store presents a unique opportunity for kids to be involved in a business in any way they want to.

From tracking inventory to interacting with customers, the store gives club members hands-on experience with business in a welcoming environment. Bear Necessities is open 10 minutes before and after school and during both lunches. The store provides many different goods such as chocolate, drinks, and school supplies. DECA Vice President Timo Hemphill ‘20 believes that “the store was something missing from Blake, especially because we have a business club, and it’s a great way to practice interacting with customers… that’s probably the greatest possible impact of the store.”    Additionally, Bear Necessities is right outside the lunchroom, where nearly everyone drops their backpacks on the way to lunch. Amanda Ward ‘21, who often staffs the store before school and during first lunch, explains that a lot of students pass the store and often will “come up and say hi to me…it’s really fun.”

But while the location is very central, it’s also in a congested area, as Paris Del Castillo ‘19 explains, “It takes up a lot of room and causes traffic jams while the often unoccupied table just sits there.”  Additionally, there has been some backlash surrounding high prices. Del Castillo says, “I feel like the funds [supplied by Forum] could have been used for something else…we can get what they sell from a variety of other places,” remarks Del Castillo. However, another reason the store was opened was to make students lives more convenient, as they can purchase what they need at Blake and then won’t have to go to stores after school. Hemphill is determined to “make appropriate prices, but we really want to pay back our loan first and sometimes that means we need to raise our prices.”

The current goal is to pay back their loan, but other dreams include opening a permanent storefront and making competition fees as low as possible. As Hemphill says, the end goal is really to make Bear Necessities “a staple of the Blake School.”