Going Grean: G-A team wins business challenge

Shawn Hardy
The Greencastle-Antrim High School team won the first Franklin County High School Business Challenge with the Grean Bag: Grean Seats, Clean World. They are shown here the day before the challenge in their design room at G-AHS. From left, front: Matt Lynerd and Austin Straley. Back: Nick Starkey, adviser Eric Brennan, Collin Griffin and Dylan Starkey. For video, visit echo-pilot.com.

Tuesday afternoon the five members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School team preparing for the Franklin County High School Business Challenge were experiencing different feelings: cocky and confident, nervous on the inside, excited to see what others had done.

“We think we have a lot of quality,” said Matt Lynerd, an 11th-grader.

“But there could be cancer cures …” said Collin Griffin, also an 11th-grader, while 12th-grader Nick Starkey finished “… and we have a bean bag.”

Wednesday morning at Franklin County Career and Technology Center, they came together for a group hug with teammates Dylan Starkey, 11th grade, and Austin Straley, 12th grade, after winning the inaugural competition sponsored by the Community Education Coalition of Franklin County.

Their Grean Bag: Grean Seats, Clean World earned them first place and $750. Second place and $500 went to Spirit Stickums (What’s Your Passion? Let Us Make It Stick) easily personalized vinyl stickers created by James Buchanan High School’s Sydney Benedick, Maggie Strawoet and Thatcher Stevens. Sun Valley Creamery (creamline milk, ice cream and butter), by JB’s Zach Sauder, Kelsey Stewart, Dakota Chilcote, Brock Heckman and Carson Ocker, placed third and received $200.

Eight teams — from Chambersburg, FCCTC, G-A and JB — submitted written business plans and Wednesday morning at FCCTC the three finalists went before the judges — Stephen J. Holoviak, Ph.D., business and management professor; L. Michael Ross of Franklin County Area Development Corp.; and Cheryl Young of the Small Business Development Center at Shippensburg University.

The challenge was designed “to encourage students to create their own fictional, yet profitable and sustainable business plans. This task allows students to exercise both creative thinking and critical analysis skills in establishing plans for sustainable enterprise that are socially and environmentally responsible and financially effective.”

In a “Shark Tank” style morning, the teams had five minutes to pitch their products to the judges, who then had five minutes to ask questions.

“We were very impressed with all three presentations,” Ross said. “All three teams did a great job.”

The Grean Bag

The G-AHS students have been working on the Grean Bag, a riff on green and bean bag, since the beginning of the semester under the guidance of adviser Eric Brennan, a G-AHS STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) teacher, and retired businessman Jack Scott, who was part owner of LSI Controls in Waynesboro.

“Thirty percent of the volume found in landfills is polystyrene. Grean Bag’s main focus is to prevent this material from harming our environment by repurposing the Styrofoam into a bean-based fill used in comfy furniture,” says their brochure.

They used their own ingenuity and called on others in STEAM classes to assist with building and designing the project. She came on board too late to be included in the presentation, but the team was quick to give credit to Clare Hudak who volunteered to sew the bags.

The brochure also has a financial report that shows a first-year net profit of $11,562 climbing to $109,379 by year three. They also addressed manufacturing; marketing including billboards, newspapers and social media (Instagram for students, Facebook for their parents); and target audience (college students, schools, young adults and children).

They originally thought about using lunch trays, until their mentored pointed out the trays would have to be cleaned so the Grean Bags are made with Styrofoam from shipping.

“We took an unfriendly product and made it useful,” said Collin, who served as president.