Entrepreneurial Students Start Their Own Businesses

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When the school year ended and summer began, Rob DiBarto ’11 and Sam Reznik ’11 were still working hard.

“Last year I went to my guidance counselor…[and] she said ‘[if] you’re applying [to colleges] for business, really the best thing to do is start your own business,’” Reznik said.

Reznik, after trying at first to start a slushee business, eventually teamed up with DiBarto and cofounded “Wash Doct

Rob DiBarto ‘11 and Sammy Reznik ‘11 started The Wash Doctors, a powerwashing company. It will open again this summer.

ors,” a powerwashing business.

They are among a collection of students who have founded or currently run their own businesses.

“We’ve had [about 5 jobs] and made about $2,000, but we only made [about] $450 each profit,” DiBarto said. “We were only open for [about] a month over the summer, so hopefully this summer [business will] be a lot better, since we’re probably going to start second semester.”

The duo says that a lot of thinking went behind choosing powerwashing in particular as their business of choice. “We studied it [and] we made sure we had the lowest prices,” Reznik said. “And five months later we were able to start it.”

Molly Rudinger ’11 is another entrepreneur. She recently began giving private tennis lessons during both the school year and the summer and also has been a tutor during the school year since she started high school.

“I enjoy playing tennis, [and] it’s what I did all summer,” Rudinger said, adding that she worked as a tennis counselor at Longshore over the summer prior to opening her private service.

Kosta Papadopoulos ’11 began a business called “Kosta’s Pens,” which specializes in producing and selling pens.

“I make pens on a lathe [a machine that works with wood and metal] using wood or acrylic materials,”

Papadopoulos said in describing his business. “I also turn other objects such as whistles, bottle stoppers, bowls, and more.”

Like Reznik and DiBarto, Papadopoulos received the idea for his business from a faculty member at Staples.

“I [got] the idea to start this business from Mr. Sansur, the Tech. Ed. Teacher,” Papadopoulos said. “He started me off by teaching me to use the lathe and providing me with some materials to try it out at home after I had purchased my own lathe.”

Papadopoulos mentioned that one of the problems that he has come across when trying to start and run his business is advertising it.

“I’ve had my website for about 2 years and unfortunately without advertising, the only business I really get is from friends and family,” he said.

Reznik and DiBarto made a Facebook page, business cards, and flyers, but agreed that reeling in business was somewhat difficult.

“Most advertisement is pretty expensive so it makes it hard,” Reznik said.

However, these students agreed for the most part that receiving references really helped to generate more business for them.

“The big thing was that I contacted Dan Woog, [and] he wrote an article about us on his blog,” Reznik said. “That’s when business really took off.”

Rudinger benefited from this as well, as she received references while working at Longshore. She also stressed the importance of finding a good balance between doing schoolwork and running a business.

“[Having a business] keeps you more organized,” Rudinger said. “You do homework before its due and you plan everything in advance.”

Of course, at the other end, student entrepreneurs said that going to school and being a student could have an impact on the success of a business.

“It’s very difficult to balance being a student and having a business,” Papadopoulos said. “If I wasn’t in school I could put more time into the business, have more products and have some sort of advertising.”

However, while the balance is tough, students agree that their education at Staples has helped them in some way to improve their businesses.

“You have to be successful in the subjects you tutor,” Rudinger said, adding that her playing on the tennis team helps her with her private lessons.

“Sam’s a very educated kid so he’s done a lot of the business part…and as he’s done better [in school] I think it’s helped us become more successful as a business,” DiBarto said.

He himself is taking Accounting and Personal Finance in hopes that it would “help [the two] document [their] transactions better.”

The “Wash Doctors” also have one more message for students and other residents in town.

“Call us, email us, [and] make your appointment for this summer,” Reznik said. “No questions asked, if you don’t like the job we did, we don’t charge you.

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