In a very rare opportunity, two Pitt State students earn a storefront in downtown Pittsburg--making a name for themselves at a young age.
Brittan Brenner and Kailey Pearson are exactly what Block 22 is all about.
"Well I think they're really why we're building Block 22. I mean the concept is to have a living-learning community to really nurture local entrepreneurs,” says Jay Byers.
The 19 and 21 year old students will have a storefront in the downtown revitalization project for their eclectic boutique, Sonder & Co.
"We hope to epitomize the goals and missions of Block 22 and show the community that it will work and that we're students and we want to stay here. We want to grow a business and support the local economy,” says Brittan Brenner.
From vintage clothing to home decor, all products they sell are locally made and profits are split 50-50 with artisans, many of which are also students.
"So students who are studying a craft in college and can make amazing things, but don't have a place to sell it, will come to our store and we'll sell it for you,” says Brittan Brenner.
They'll continue school while running their business, something they never would have imagined happening a few months ago.
"We weren't sure how to fund a project like this, we're college students and we're broke and who has the money to start a business?" says Brenner.
The university's strategic initiatives office helped them develop a business plan and find ways to raise money.
"There's a competition for college entrepreneurs, so we drove to Manhattan competed and got 4th place and enough money to pay our bills and insurance for a year,” says Brenner.
The women hope their store will exude a sense of town pride and growth.
"We're just really excited to bring that component to Pittsburg, we think that's a gap in our retail industry and we're excited to provide that,” says Brittan Brenner.
"There's just an energy that you can see emanating from that central location in the city out to the rest of the community. It also provides a nice central point whereas those ripples go out, it brings people back to the center of the town,” says Jay Byers.