Bailey Wech presents the T-Biz Program to Bloomsburg American Legion. Photo courtesy of Moose Exchange.

Teens Assist River Town Merchants

Each month our e-newsletter features a local business or organization that is opening or expanding in an established Susquehanna River town - helping to preserve our greenspace and invest in our towns.

April 2014

T-Biz Bloomsburg Up and Running
Reprinted with permission from Moose Exchange

Fourteen Central Columbia and Columbia Montour Vo-Tech high school students make up the first group in an exciting new program called T-Biz Bloomsburg.  The Teen Business Innovation Zone or T-Biz started under the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Adrienne Mael, manager of Downtown Bloomsburg, Inc., brought the idea to Bloomsburg, developing it further with Alison Briggs of Flying Bees Research and, before the fire, with assistance from the Moose Exchange.  In addition to the schools, others involved include downtown businesses and Bloomsburg University; in the fall, the high school students in the program will get college credit through B.U.

In the photo, Bailey Wech, Central Columbia senior, presents the program to Bloomsburg American Legion members and thanks them for their donation to the program.  Major funding for T-Biz came from the Alcoa Foundation.

Students followed a ten-week, wholly original curriculum.  As Adrienne describes it, "We built our own program as an experiential learning opportunity to teach students how to run businesses of their own design."  The students in the pilot program set up two businesses: The Technology business offers assistance to Main Street merchants and others in Web site design and social media; the Teen Center, originally envisioned for the Exchange's Bowling Alley, offers kids a safe and fun place to hang out, and for the kids running it a place to hone their skills in retail sales and other aspects of small-business management.

The Teen Center will open at the Cloak and Dragon Bookstore at 12 E. Main St. in Bloomsburg on Thursdays, 6-8 p.m., starting April 17th and running through May
29th.  The Center welcomes all students in grades 9-12 with plenty of games, music, and much more.