Students hit the pavement to learn about businesses

By Brianna Stubler

March 20, 2019

West Bend West freshman Josie Prescott, 15, looks over some of the jewelry display with classmates Tuesday morning during the service industry tours at Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds in downtown West Bend. Students from East and West high schools toured different businesses to learn more about the demographics and operations of each. The tours were a part of the industry and service units in the human geography social studies classes.
John Ehlke/Daily News

WEST BEND — West Bend High Schools students visited several local businesses Tuesday as part of a service industry learning day. West Social Studies teacher Tanya Lohr partnered with Craig Farrell from the West Bend Chamber of Commerce to offer students the immersive business experience.

Lohr reached out to Farrell, who coordinated the visits of 42 students. They stopped at the Chamber of Commerce Office, Westbury Bank, Schloemer Law, Consider the Lilies, Tennies Ace Hardware, Husar’s, The Candyman and West Bend Mutual.

It was an eye-opening experience for her students, Lohr said; the networking and wealth of knowledge made the trip well worth the time.

 “The businesses we visited were very generous with their time and knowledge and a lot of good connections were made between them and our students,” Lohr said. “I heard one student state as we left West Bend Mutual, ‘I had no idea how much West Bend has to offer,’ and I thought, ‘mission accomplished.’” This idea came from an observation that her students had gradually become less familiar with the West Bend area.

“I decided it was time to expose them to the important service industries available right here in their community,” Lohr said. “I also wanted to counter their statements that ‘we don’t have anything good here’ with actual, visible examples of great places that exist right in their back yards.”

Owner of Consider the Lilies Amanda Strassburg speaks to students about her business Tuesday morning during the service industry tours in downtown West Bend.  
John Ehlke/Daily News

One such example is Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds. Mary Husar said she was glad their business was part of the trip and enjoyed speaking with the students.

“We talked about us, what it takes to run a company, who are our consumers; the demographics, and other general business questions,” Husar said. “They were very intelligent, asked some questions and had some great interest, which was exciting.”

It was good for them to see what the community has to offer, she said, and have an opportunity to learn from industry professionals.

“They all came up with some really good questions,” she said. “One great one was, how does an independent jeweler compete with a large, corporate jeweler? And they were all very engaged.”

It was a good foundation for them as high school students considering careers, she said, but it’s never too early to consider these ideas; children of all ages should be more informed.

West Bend West freshman Ella Pickart, 14, reaches for a gift bag provided by Amanda Strassburg of Consider the Lilies Tuesday morning during the service industry tours in downtown West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

“I think it opened their eyes to what’s available downtown in their community as far as businesses,” Husar said. “And I think it was interesting for them to learn what it takes to run a business, and how diverse and different every business is but also how similar they are too.”

This trip was meant to compliment classroom learning about service industries, Lohr said.

It began at the Chamber, Farrell said, and continued as students walked to the businesses for a roughly 30-minute engagement at each.

“I was extremely happy to facilitate this visit that showcases some of our members in the downtown area,” he said.