How Sweet It Is
Athletic Director Karl Heimbach of Magruder High School in Rockville, Maryland has taken a personal initiative to increase the athletic budget by selling Italian ices after school. After partnering with a local vendor for on-campus games eight years ago, Heimbach has been selling the sweet treats for the past four years to students waiting for the bus or going to sports practice. The extra money has helped pay for a new message board, among other items.
By Karl Heimbach
Athletic Director, CMAA, Colonel Zadok Magruder High School
We try and be creative when it comes to fundraising. And if our students like something, we tend to stick with it.
About eight years ago we partnered with Carmen's Italian Ice, a local vendor here in Rockville. We originally had them come to our home games and they gave us a percentage of sales - 20 percent. After realizing how popular the ices were, I thought that there was a possibility of selling Italian ice after school. So I talked to the company about the idea and inquired if it would be okay if I did the work and handled the sales after school on the premises. They agreed and we keep 40 percent of the profits. We've now doing been doing it for almost five years.
I sell the ices year round. You don't make a lot of money each day but it's steady. I sell about $40 a day. Over a course of a week we're close to about $200. Over the course of a month, it's almost $800. So it adds up.
In the warmer months sales can be more. But this time of year, kids will get one on the way to bus or a practice instead of buying some junk food. It's just something that I started and I've stayed with it. It's sort of become a staple at our school.
When Carmen's handles the sales during football games, a wrestling tournament, or a big track meet, they can do almost $1,000 worth of business in that one day alone. So we can make $200 profit. It's not a big part of what I try and do regarding fundraising, but it is something that I can do without asking my coaches to sell more things and it doesn't compete with anything the booster club does.
Carmen's provided me with an old freezer and I store it in what used to be our school store. Everything takes place within about 10 minutes: by the time school let's out at 2:10 p.m. till 2:20 p.m., when the busses come.
The ices come in 2 ½ gallon containers. I have cups all set up. The kids hand me the money and they pick up the pre-scooped Italian ice. It's really a great product, too. The owner makes it fresh and natural at his store. We have three different sizes: $1, $2, and $3. We offer four to six flavors, with mango, strawberry, lemon, cherry, and blue raspberry being the most popular. Right now, one of the more popular flavors is root beer or sour apple. We always have our standard two or three flavors and then we mix in a couple different ones.
All the proceeds go directly to the athletic department. Over the years we've been able to buy a new message board for the front of the school and a new scoreboard with all the bells and whistles. We've been able to buy these kinds of things through these types of fundraisers.
I try and do it everyday and if I can't make it, I ask one of my coaches to step in and cover for me if I'm at an AD's meeting or a conference.
You can do this with any local business. The range of profits can be worked out between the school and the vendor. It's something that works for us.
I know of some schools in our area that sell hot pretzels after school. Some sell cookies. We've gone this route because we built a good relationship with this business. They trust us and we trust them. It's been great.