The bar defining real-world resume experience has been set at a whole new level by members of Enactus at Pittsburg State University.
The organization celebrated the grand opening of its own business in downtown Pittsburg Thursday morning to a flurry of community excitement.
That business is Krimson Kultuur, a Ten Thousand Villages store at 111A W. 4th that is giving the group the chance to learn how to start a business and to do a number of other business service projects.
Even before the launch of the store, Enactus members had grand plans for it to also serve as a hub for many other business outreach projects, such as job experience for unemployed individuals.
"This is the biggest project Enactus has ever done," said president Sam Bogle, who said she was excited for the grand opening day to arrive. "It’s just a big hub of excitement."
Faculty advisor Suzanne Hurt said she has worked with great students in the past, but that this group was something special for taking on a project like starting a business.
"I’ve worked with student organizations for well over 25 years," she sad. "This, by far, is the most amazing project that I’ve seen the students develop and implement."
She added that faculty have taken care to make sure the correct steps were taken along the way.
"It has been a process," Hurt said. "I wanted them to learn the proper way to open a business."
She said this began with a business plan and grew to include a number of faculty, classes and departments.
"It’s been a group project that has also involved a lot of other departments," Hurt said. "It’s been a joint effort following the steps to opening a business the proper way."
This has included working not just with PSU, but also with the City of Pittsburg, the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Development group.
Hurt said the project has been a win-win in lots of ways.
"It’s not just helping people in other countries, but also in our own backyard," she said. "It feels like we’re doing something to give back."
Merchandise within the store varies from clothing to candles and also includes baskets, books, decorations and more.
The common thread is that it all is handmade - whether by local artists or artisans around the world, many of whom work with international justice organizations such as Amazima Ministries, Rapha House or Mata Traders.
Enactus members also were adamant about benefitting the Pittsburg community through the Krimson Kultuur endeavor.
Jeff Wilbert, Pittsburg's downtown development director, said the store could have been set up on campus, but part of the intention was to bring an additional element of excitement downtown.
"This has been great," Wilber said. "It's a perfect fit. We're just really pleased that they're downtown."
"They were very adamant about going downtown and tapping into the energy," added Blake Benson, president of the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce.
Wilbert said it also shows that efforts downtown are being noticed.
"It says a lot," he said, adding that the presence of the store also will draw more students to the downtown area. "It says that the students wanted to interact with the downtown."
Jay Byers, director of innovation for the City of Pittsburg, said he is extremely impressed with Krimson Kultuur and Enactus and sees the group playing an active role in the community's future.
"We have a lot of plans to continue to take advantage of the Enactus group in the future," he said.
Krimson Kultuur's launch initially is just for this holiday season and the store will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday through November and much of December.
"They're going to run it through the season, take a break and they're wanting to run it through the year," Wilbert said.
This also corresponds to the Community Empowerment Program that will help with job skills and experience, which Bogle said Enactus hopes to run throughout the year.