Podcast: Hillies Shop at Haverhill City Hall Teaches Business While Ready for Peak Holiday Shopping

Hillies Shop, operated by students, at Haverhill City Hall. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill High students are taking advantage of a learning opportunity that’s perfectly timed with the holiday shopping season.

They are learning about retail, while operating the Haverhill Hillies Shop is in the basement of Haverhill City Hall. Matt Scanlon, one of the faculty advisors, was a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program.

“I’m one of the special education supervisors for the school district, and last year we started rolling out the idea of a Hillies Shop that would be accessible to the community and I have been overseeing it. I’m not in there every day. We have job coaches and students running the store, but, yes, I am overseeing it,” he said.

The City Hall location is the “sister store” to one at Haverhill High School, but is more accessible to the general public. Scanlon said it is open 8 a.m.-1 p.m., weekdays, when schools are open.

“Everything has some version of Haverhill information on it. Typically, the Brown and Gold ‘H’ or it might say ‘Hillies.’ I think they have black sweatshirts right now with the Haverhill seal on it, so that doesn’t have the Brown and Gold ‘H,’ but it’s still Haverhill-related. That’s the major focus. Everything in there is somehow printed with Haverhill Hillies or the ‘H,’” he said.

Scanlon said students are learning about accounting and pricing merchandise along with other important skills

“They are teaching them pre-employment skills, how to properly and socially interact with customers. They are doing the inventory, making sure everything is accounted for in terms of the products they have to sell. They do the labeling and tagging of all the merchandise, working on the register. It’s really a student-run store under the supervision of what we call a job coach,” he added.

In time for the peak shopping season, Scanlon said, the Hillies Shop at City Hall has lots of Christmas ornaments and that winter pom pom hats and sweatshirts are very popular. Money raised goes back into the program to cover costs, maintain equipment and increase the quality of the merchandise.

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