GARDINER — When the temperature goes up, Alic Shorey and his crew at the Gardiner Cat Shack get busy.

Every day, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., they are staffing the ice cream stand in Waterfront Park, waiting for the next person to order a sundae or a dish of ice cream or a root beer float.

“Rainy days aren’t the best, though,” Shorey, 18, said. “We might close a little early when it rains.”

Weather, as these young entrepreneurs are finding, is a double-edged sword for an ice cream stand. And it’s just one of the factors they have to plan for as they run their summertime enterprise.

As a group, they are learning how to serve a consistent product, how to keep ice cream and supplies in stock, how to follow their training plan and how, with any luck, to make enough money to cover their expenses.

“We are currently working at getting the soft-serve machine up and running,” Shorey said Monday, standing inside the compact building and indicating the space where it will go.

If business goes as Shorey and the other teens who work there hope, they’ll also add banana splits and other toppings for ice cream.

Connor Manter, 18, said during his three-hour shifts, he serves a minimum of 20 people, and he thinks there’s potential to serve plenty more.

What they’re doing now is the product of an idea that businessman Bill Latvis had about a year ago.

The Gardiner resident wanted to contribute something to his community that would be meaningful, and it took the shape of a class that would teach high school students what they need to know to start a business. Latvis, who has taught business classes for 20 years in the Portland area, partnered with Gardiner Area High School teacher Kristy McNaughton to make it happen.

For simplicity’s sake, Latvis chose the business — an ice cream stand; it was something the students actually could do.

“It wasn’t even guaranteed,” he said. “If that business wasn’t going to work, we wouldn’t do it.”

The students were tasked with completing a business plan.

Working in teams, they completed a competitive analysis looking at locations, traffic patterns, pricing, menu selections and parking. They also looked at demographics, income information and what people would be likely to spend. They covered the types of businesses and how to identify financing opportunities.

They also interviewed an ice cream shop owner from Yarmouth who could talk about the realities of running an ice cream stand — everything from what to wear to the consequences to the business of giving ice cream away to friends for free.

They found that while a couple ice cream shops operate in Randolph and Manchester, Gardiner has none.

For Shorey, the class was an eye-opening experience.

“Initially, I thought it was just get stuff up and running in a week,” he said, “but he put us through what it takes to start a business. It’s so in-depth. It took so much longer than I thought it would. It was a shock how much effort it actually is to get a successful business up and running.”

Shorey said some of his classmates didn’t really see the business plan that resulted as an opportunity.

“They went about it just to get the grade,” Shorey said, “but I knew it was an opportunity.”

So did Manter, who also took the class.

“I’ve always been entrepreneurial,” Manter said. “I’ve had my own lawn-care business.”

What they learned in the classroom was possible to achieve in the real world. And this summer, that’s what Shorey, Manter and four other teens are doing at the Cat Shack with the help of Latvis.

While the idea was born at the school, the business is a completely separate and independent operation.

The Cat Shack opened June 15.

Latvis had found the kiosk, which needed to be retrofitted for ice cream. He lent the team the money to buy it and arranged financing for equipment. They set up an account with Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream and arranged for everything else to stock the stand as well as arranging payroll services through Latvis.

And they had to apply to Gardiner officials for permission to operate the stand in Waterfront Park.

For city officials, it was an easy decision to make.

Interim City Manager Anne Davis said after the improvements made to Waterfront Park, the city had sought bids for someone to run a stand at the waterfront, but none was forthcoming.

“This is going to be a good test to see how it goes,” said Davis, who noted the Cat Shack had to pay for its permits from the city as well as they electricity it’s using.

“I hope they make money. It’s a great opportunity, and it’s a way for Gardiner to look at a new revenue stream in leasing space at the park,” she said.

Waterfront Park is home to the Classic Car Cruise In on Thursdays and free concerts put on every Friday by Johnson Hall.

The Cat Shack staff is counting on the exposure it’ll get from those events to help build their sales.

While they think they’re doing well, the business expert Latvis sees the opportunity to do more.

“We projected doing $2,200 a week and they are doing $1,600 to $1,700 a week now.”

Manter thinks adding the soft-serve machine will help boost sales, and the crew plans to work on some promotion and marketing in the coming days to bring in more customers.

For now, the business is operating as a nonprofit. If it clears any money, it will be dedicated to scholarships at the high school.

At the end of the summer, the kiosk will be packed up, with the hope that some students might want to run it again.

There’s no plan to offer the course again at Gardiner’s high school, but that’s not to say it wouldn’t be offered at a different high school.

Latvin is interested in finding a teacher to teach the course again. If that doesn’t work out, Latvin has options. He could sell the kiosk and the contents, or he could move it and operate it elsewhere, or he could hire a manager and operate it in Gardiner.

But for now, Shorey, who is the operation’s manager, said the vision is having a successful business up and running.

Is it successful yet?

“We’re on the road,” he said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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