Hotdogs, Soda, and Opportunities at Lake St. Catherine

Open for business! - The Lake St.
Catherine Concession Stand
Jonas Rosenthal, the town manager of Poultney for over 25 years has another tough job, organizing and running the Lake St. Catherine State Park concession stand. This isn't an ordinary concession stand though; it's a unique opportunity for high school students to gain work experience.

It all started six summers ago, when Jonas, who also runs an extensive summer recreation program for youth, heard alot of complaints from kids about wanting to work, but unable to find jobs. A request for proposal (RFP) came up for the concession stand and Jonas applied with the angle of a youth employment program. The selectboard approved with the stipulation that he could run the program as long as he didn't lose any money.

Paddleboating at Lake St. Catherine
Jonas clarifies that a person managing it could make money, but after paying the expenses for equipment and supplies, and wages of the kids, he really doesn't make any profit (which goes back to the town anyways). He's more than happy about it though, because that's the price for giving many youths in the Poultney area their first real work experience. Each season, Jonas hires eight to twelve employees, ranging in age from 15-17 to work eight to fifteen hours per week. This year, employees include: Sadie Brown, Lucy DeMatties, Kimberly Rupe, Cade Pratt, Ashley Simons, Jared White, Connor Tougher and Abby Teetor. High school senior, Abby Tettor has worked the Lake St. Catherine concession for three years and now manages the daily operations under the supervision of Jonas. She hopes to keep going along her business career path by studying business in college.

What has helped make hiring new staff each year much easier has been Colleen Neger. Colleen put together a booklet for training the staff on how to work and run a concession stand. Jonas couldn't say enough about how much work and organizing Colleen has done over the past six years. She's been instrumental in getting this project off the ground and keeping it a float! Each year, to run the concession costs around $76,000. Despite all the work and expenses, they keep scraping by. Without grants, the stand's profits over the past six seasons total $590.89.

Some of goodies sold at the stand
Jonas and Colleen figured out that by diversifying the items they sell helps their sales. In addition to normal concession food items, like soda, candy, hot dogs, and ice cream, they also sell ice, mosquito repellent, toys, and goggles.

The next time you are enjoying the cool waters, great hiking, or fabulous camping at Lake St. Caterine State Park, stop by the concession stand and grab a bite to eat, a drink, or something else!

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