A School Store Makeover Bolsters Pride—and Profits

Case Studies

How a building wrap supports the messaging, goals, and quality of education at a charter school.

Can a building wrap have a powerful impact on students? At Birmingham Community Charter High School in Van Nuys, California, the answer is a resounding “yes.” It was time to give a fresh new look to some of the features of the independent charter high school, which is the educational home to more than 3,000 students in grades 9 through 12. Pride runs high among the Patriots, and school officials wanted the campus grounds to reflect the quality of the education students receive, so they made plans to make over the school store as a first step.

The store’s façade is partially enclosed but was somewhat battered by the elements and neglected. Working in conjunction with Tukaiz, a Franklin Park, Illinois, design firm hired to create a new look for the store, the Santa Clarita, California, location of Signs by Tomorrow was tapped to wrap the building and the rolling metal window covers.

Meeting the challenge as a team

Signs by Tomorrow owner Becky Hargrave says the first phase of overall redesign, the store makeover, was a challenge that brought the school and vendor together. Because the building was somewhat weathered and dirty, students and faculty worked to clean the exterior, according to her directions. Her skilled crew visited the site and took very careful measurements, opting to use 3M’s Envision 480 print wrap film because the surface was rough and because they thought it was the perfect material for the job.

“It was a pretty complex job. We had never wrapped rolling metal windows before, but we just worked carefully doing what we know how to do with the right tools and our installation experience. The end result looks great,” she says.

A look that lures students into jobs

Steve Lueneburg, senior business associate of fiscal operations at the school, agrees. While the store once had only adults working there, students got so excited about the new look, they were enthusiastic about working there, too. Students work during lunch periods, games, and other events, learning how to handle transactions and work the cash registers, giving them skills they can use to land other jobs in retailing, he says. Sales in the store have doubled so far this year.

The school is currently working on funding approval to wrap its concession stand, located near the store, to carry through the look. That also will offer more opportunities for students to work at and take pride in their school, he says.

“I’ve written job recommendations for 95 percent of the students who have worked here. We’ve got them working out in the local areas—places like In-N-Out Burger, clothing stores, and other retailers— earning money for colleges they’ll be attending next fall,” Lueneburg says.

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