Special to The Texas Catholic
“ABCDEFG, Snack Shack is the Place to Be,” was heard on Righteous Radio at Mary Immaculate Catholic School’s inaugural Mustang Market this April. The jingle encouraged vendors, customers, faculty and volunteers at the Farmers Branch school to purchase tamales, popcorn and more at their store.
Mary Immaculate fourth graders opened Mustang Market after two weeks of studying business, personal finance, marketing and tithing.
“We were so proud of the students who enjoyed building their own businesses, creating slogans, and learning to partner with one another and with outside organizations to bring Mustang Market to life,” said teachers Lisa Meenan and Therese Stephens.
Students were divided into nine organizations — six sold merchandise and three provided services. Each of the nine booths were run by four to six students and one parent volunteer.
The six stores included Hilarious House (a joke shop), a Toy Shop, DC Sporting Goods, a Snack Shack, a Spirit Store and Mother Mary Charities. Students ordered merchandise by completing distribution forms. They could also create additional items to sell. If items weren’t selling well, students would offer sales, incentives and other promotions, which were announced on the radio.
“It’s harder to run a business than I thought,” said one student. Another chimed in adding that “you have to be very responsible.”
In addition to the stores, the market also provided three services — Mustang Distribution Center (MDC), Best Bank, and Righteous Radio Station.
“I learned how to get a loan and pay it off,” said one student after visiting Best Bank. The bank’s slogan, “Don’t Groan, We’ll Give You a Loan,” encouraged small business loans.
In addition to business, students learned personal skills like how to write a check and balance a checkbook.
Students also learned that there’s more to business than making money. One student said she most enjoyed “making new friends ‘at work.’” Another added that, “shopping was the most fun.”
“Our inaugural Mustang Market was such a success that we plan to continue this tradition each year,” said Sister Mary Anne Zuberbueler, OP, principal of Mary Immaculate Catholic School. “Students have already started brainstorming future plans.”
Mustang Market required several parent volunteers and partnerships with outside organizations. The Jesuit College Preparatory School Rangerettes lent the structure (pipe and drape), the Ursuline Academy Calligraphy Club created signs and Padrino’s Tamales donated food for the snack shop.
Kristin Brandt, who led the parent volunteers, said she was impressed that students rotated three times through Mother Mary Charities to donate the first fruits of their labor.
“It was beautiful to see our Catholic faith incorporated into the Market,” she said.
Father Alfonse Nazzaro, pastoral administrator for Mary Immaculate, said the purpose of the Mustang Market was to help prepare Mary Immaculate Catholic School students for tomorrow.
“We are helping children learn about investing now,” Father Nazzaro said, “so they can invest in their future.”