IN HER OWN WORDS
“I will definitely continue to volunteer at District 23. It is a great store, great people, and it supports a great cause. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with them.”
My name is Jill Gossett. I’m a BBA graduate, and my internship was at District 23 Mercantile & Foundry, a store benefiting the Cochlear Implant Awareness Foundation (CIAF). I completed my internship during the SU13 semester, and Brandy Lozosky was my supervisor. The foundation was started in 2006 by Michelle Tjelmeland, herself deaf since the age of 25 and the mother of a daughter who is also deaf. Both are able to hear today because of cochlear implant technology. CIAF has provided help and recycled implant parts to more than 500 families in their exploration to find information and resources about the surgery.
To support the success of the foundation, the retail store was the next step and was opened on Macarthur Boulevard. The store is open the first and third Fridays and Saturdays of the month and is run exclusively by volunteers. The merchandise consists of up-cycled furniture and accessories and products unique to Springfield. For example, the store’s very popular Consuela bags from Texas are not sold anywhere else in the state of Illinois, and Bridgewater Company candles have the proceeds from their candle sales support food programs for children.
The main focus of my internship at District 23 Mercantile & Foundry encompassed the buying and merchandising part of the retail business. My Business Administration coursework, including courses in marketing, advertising, management and human resources, greatly enhanced the work I was able to accomplish during my internship. I become totally immersed in the operation, and my duties varied daily and included stocking and pricing new merchandise, staging, working the cash register, and interacting with customers.
As I had not previously worked in a retail environment, I learned so much and enjoyed the experience immensely. I will definitely continue to volunteer at District 23. It is a great store, great people, and it supports a great cause. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with them.
Update: Jill was honored as a recipient of the 2013 Wayne and Margie Fox Award. The Fox Award targets an exemplary College of Business and Management undergraduate student who successfully completes an internship with a Springfield nonprofit organization. Wayne and Margie Fox have made a generous $2500 award to the university with the intent to honor two students. See Outstanding Students for more information about the Fox Award