Deep Dive into Dane Den

Students file into the school store in hopes of buying a cookie.

Ellia Houtsma

Students file into the school store in hopes of buying a cookie.

Nearly all Denmark students agree that lunch is one of the best parts of the day. Not just because they get to talk to their friends and dig into a slice of cafeteria pizza, but because of the promise of two, ooey-gooey, chocolate chip cookies for the price of a single dollar. The Dane Den is renowned amongst the student body for this delicious dessert, but they also offer Denmark swag, school supplies, personal items, and a variety of snacks. This year, the school store will continue to be open during lunches, but students can expect a novel experience when they enter the Den. A new teacher is here to operate the store, as well as the latest student-composed staff, who are all eager to make their mark. 

New marketing teacher Mrs. Barone works alongside her student to run their store. (Ellia Houtsma)

Mrs. Barone just started her first year at Denmark where she teaches the marketing entrepreneurship pathway. With a background in sports marketing and substitute teaching at West Forsyth, she felt ready to tackle the intimidating task of running and improving the Dane Den. It was difficult for Mrs. Barone to get started. “I think just being new to the school and not knowing the ins and outs has been a challenge,” she admits. “Learning the vendor contacts, getting to know the students and what they like, ordering the apparel for the store, it’s just a work in progress.” Regardless of any setbacks, Mrs. Barone is passionate about the importance of the store. She believes that everyone should have some experience working with public retail and the restaurant industry, so the Dane Den is an awesome opportunity for students to dive into a real life work environment. 

The store is operated solely by the Marketing Management students. They can learn about overseeing money and inventory, as well as interacting with customers. The student-staff gets a say in what is sold in the store, and are even given the chance to design spiritwear. Sanjot Bodake, a senior employee, has been looking forward to her position for years. She lights up as she explains, “It’s fun to interact with all the underclassmen and help them out.” Sanjot wants to pursue a career in business, so she is enthralled with the lessons she learns while working at the Den. “I guess this is kind of like an internship but at school,” she explains. “It shows me how retail stores work and the behind-the-scenes of business management.” 

A student is graced with a bag of cookies to enjoy. (Ellia Houtsma)

The Dane Den is implementing a push to increase customer interactions and build a friendlier environment than years prior. As a current cashier, Sanjot finds this task slightly daunting. “Sometimes I do get anxious talking to new people,” she confesses, “but I think it is helping me become a better communicator with all of these different people coming in.” They are also working on improving their social media; all previous Instagram posts were archived so they could have a fresh slate. Zahra Aamir, another student employee, commented, “We want to make the Instagram more appealing for students.” Zahra started the pathway her sophomore year and quickly fell in love with the subject. “I really thought that this is what I wanted to do, this is what I have a passion for,” she said. She thrives in the fast-paced environment of the store, excited by the pressure of the time-important tasks of cookie baking and bagging.

The Dane Den has a lot to offer for marketing students like Zahra, but it also works to benefit the entire student body. Students can swing by during their lunch to meet new students, buy a sweatshirt to rep their school, and grab a bag of delicious cookies to share with a friend. For this school year, students are excited to see the changes the store has made. It’s more than just new T-shirt designs and a wider selection of coffee flavors, it’s Denmark students pursuing their passions and a new leader ready to take on the challenge.