Behind The Scenes

The in's and out's of all things "Shield"

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Photo by Sabrina Richards

Ariana Floyd-Reading, a seventh grader, pays for her purchase of Faith paraphernalia with Mrs. Tiffany Caico, at The Shield register. New product and apparel shipments constantly arrive, and all items must be sorted, counted, and entered into the computer system.

Sabrina Richards, Staff Writer

On a typical day, The Shield bustles with customers purchasing all types of merchandise. The large amount of product purchased ranges from uniforms, to spirit wear, hats, magnets, sweatshirts, and much more. What Faith Lutheran families may not realize is the operations that occur behind the scenes and where the money goes after the cash register.

Up until five years ago, Faith Lutheran uniforms consisted of blue, green, white, and maroon polos, and they did not have a FL logo on them. In 2011, Dr. Steven Buuck, Faith Chief Executive Officer, and his coworkers decided to put FL logos on the polos, and in the same year Buuck and his staff converted the polos back to the traditional Faith colors, maroon, black, and white.

In the past, Faith families had to purchase uniforms at stores such as Campus Club, an outside company that sold Faith Lutheran uniforms. To assist families, Buuck and his staff decided to build a store on campus and create a more accessible way for parents to buy their children uniforms.

Mr. Gary Daning, Director of Facilities, envisioned the store, and worked together with architects to bring his ideas to paper, and ultimately, to where The Shield stands now.

The three main ideas that drove the creation of The Shield includes, “making the uniforms more convenient, having more fun on Spirit Day, and getting our brand in the public,” Daning said.

Daning also insisted on giving credit to Mrs. Melinda Vincent, his Assistant of Facilities, for the creation of the name.

“We were brainstorming, and I was struggling. She came in and said ‘Gary, why don’t we call it The Shield?’ She get’s all the credit for naming the store. Boom! Just like that!” Daning said.

Vincent and Daning felt the name of the store should reflect Faith Lutheran as a whole.

“We wanted something that showed school spirit and represented the true essence of what the school and scripture stood for,” Vincent said.

Mrs. Deborah Black, the Store Manager, prepares all products and materials for the following school year in February. She currently uses eight to ten major vendors, all providing different merchandise.

“Some of them have more of our outerwear, some are more for t-shirts, and some are more for our accessories,” said Black.

The Game, one of the vendors Black uses this year, produces a high quality product.

“The Game, which does our hats, are a very good company to work with,” Black said.

When designing products, Black and Mrs. Tiffany Caico, the Assistant Store Manager, go through the creative process, and they use sample art from vendors or they create their own designs for Faith Lutheran to sell.

Once product is designed and ordered, a multitude of shipments start to arrive at Faith Lutheran by UPS or delivery trucks. Mrs. Connie Murray, The Shield’s Inventory Clerk, sorts through every single box. She organizes all incoming merchandise, and she personally counts all the items within The Shield.

Caico and Murray constantly stock and restock new merchandise, change around the floor, and check the price tags.

In August 2013, The Shield opened, and after two years in business, the store is beginning to produce a profit.

“We are starting to make some money. In the second year, we made a profit, although that profit does not include the cost of the building,” Buuck said.

Buuck divvies up the profit in a specific manner that recognizes many departments. Ten percent of the total profit goes to the Faith Lutheran Endowment Fund, 40% goes to pay down debt, another 40% goes to the building fund, and the final 10% of the profit goes to the contingency fund – Faith Lutheran’s “rainy day fund.”

Benefits from The Shield stretches beyond the financial profit. Black agrees that many parents and students seem pleased with The Shield’s merchandise and apparel.

“We are doing extremely well. Everyone is happy. The kids are happy with designs, and the parents are happy with the quality,” said Black.

Joshua Lee, an eighth grader, believes some products from The Shield survive from year to year because of the long lasting quality.

“My jacket from sixth grade still is great,” Lee said.

Some students would also agree that they enjoy the decals and features on the apparel, and the wide range of merchandise to choose from.

“I am happy with the designs. They are unique and cool,” Sidney Bihrer, a seventh grader said.

Although Bihrer expresses a liking to the designs of the merchandise, she does have one opposition.

“The Shield costs a lot more money than I thought.” Bihrer said.

Beyond the quality and designs, Buuck believes The Shield is a great way to brand Faith Lutheran’s name, and promote Faith in the Las Vegas Community.

“I really am not interested in making a profit. To me, what’s valuable about The Shield is our brand. You guys [students] are buying our brand, and you are wearing it out in the Las Vegas Valley,” said Buuck.

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