Three Bethel Park High School students have done wonders for a local business’ rental division.

Seniors Emily Ashton, Leah Hartman and Martina Tatalias have doubled the rental business at Evey True Value hardware and Rental since they started working there the day after the school year ended.

“They’ve performed admirably,” said Andy Amrhein, owner of the business at 5779 Library Road, Bethel Park. “The store’s rental business has increased by more than 50% in just two months.”

The three students became involved with Evey through their membership in the DECA club at Bethel Park High School. DECA is an international organization that prepares students in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

“We go to different competitions throughout the year and come up with a marketing project or business project to help out a business in the community,” Ashton explained. “Some are pretend, and some are an actual real-life project.”

This one, definitely, is a real-life project.

Amrhein said he has been involved with DECA for 30 years in many capacities. However, this is the first time he has given DECA students a paid job at his store.

“The one thing that I see with a lot of the teams, or a lot of the senior students is they have great programs,” Amrhein said, “They always win regionals. They always win states. When it comes to nationals, the groups that have real projects compared to make-believe projects always do better. I got to know these three young ladies this year. They were so dynamic, and I wanted to see what we could do to bring a national trophy to Bethel Park.”

He hired the students and presented them with a budget of $40,000 to increase the store’s rental business.

“With that budget, we’re able to do all of the promotions and marketing that we want to do for the rental side of the business,” Tatalias said.

It has been a success.

“They’re taking what they’ve learned from the classroom to the real world and implementing it,” Amrhein said. “They are firing on all cylinders from promotions to social media.”

Evey True Value Hardware and Rental has been in business for about 70 years, but the rental component has been in operation for about 12 to 15 years.

The students have been learning every aspect of that business, such as how to use the equipment and how to market that equipment and the business.

They have promoted it in many way, such as at community events, and on three radio commercials a day on Pittsburgh radio for three months.

There also will be a show chronicling their journey through their participation in the state DECA competition on BPTV, Bethel Park’s cable television station.

“We’re following their trail through the real-life project, but we want to include them actually doing the project in front of a judge,” Amrhein said. “We’re going to actually record them making their presentations in front of the judge.”

Their work on the business’ website has flourished. In July alone, there were 3,351 views on the store’s rental website, shopevey.com.

“It’s been great,” Ashton said. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of new people and interact with a lot of business owners that I probably wouldn’t have been able to until college. I’ve been happy to see the business side of the rental business.”

“I’ve enjoyed it a lot,” Hartman added. “I got to learn more about the business. Hearing about how Evey True Value helps around the community has been inspirational. It makes me want to be here and help out.”

“This has been something that I never could have imagined I’d be able to do in high school,” Tatalias said. “We build off of each other with our ideas. It makes the whole process a lot easier. If one of us can’t be at something, we can count on the other two.”

They will continue to work for the store once school starts.

The work they are doing will serve as the project they will present at a state DECA competition in Hershey in February. If they place in the top four in the state, they will advance to a national competition in April in Orlando, Fla.

One thing is certain, they’ve been successful in their first venture in the business world.

“There’s zero disappointment,” Amrhein said. “It’s been off the charts.”

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