by Deirdre Cohen
In today’s tough market, young people everywhere face stiff competition for local jobs. But here in Chappaqua, teens are trading in on their skills from the arts to academics to athletics to launch full-fledged businesses complete with official looking websites, business cards and mobile credit card readers. What’s more, these entrepreneurial students are offering their services at much lower prices than those of their adult counterparts.
Possibly the oldest and most successful student-run business in town is Turning Point Tutoring which was started five years ago by Robbie Horwitz and is now carried on by his brother, Greeley senior, Jake Horwitz. Turning Point provides some of the very best students at Greeley who know the coursework and teachers for tutoring. Approximately ten tutors are chosen through an application and interview process. Horwitz says, “What surprised me the most was how important customer service is to a business. A lot of my time is devoted to getting back to clients as fast and thoroughly as I can.” This year has been one of the company’s best. In the month of January alone, they had 108 tutoring sessions. The company is so profitable, Horwitz will continue to run it from the University of Pennsylvania next fall. www.tpointtutoring.com
Utilizing their business and athletic skills, juniors, Jake Cohen and Matt Neuberger, captains of the football and soccer teams respectively, recently launched Varsity Sports Trainers offering top Greeley varsity athletes to provide sports training for kids including one-on-one, small group training and sports birthday parties. The enterprising 17 year-olds have 13 varsity athletes on their roster, covering a wide range of sports from soccer to lacrosse to field hockey. Neuberger says, “We started our business because we saw an untapped market in Chappaqua where student athletes can work with kids at a reasonable cost.” In their first week, they booked eight training sessions and one birthday party. www.varsitysportstrainers.com
Sophomores, Matthew Reisch and Jack Panzer, run TeenAgency, a job placement company created over three years ago by Greeley grads, Jack Strougo and David Shimer. The company connects families in the local community who are in need of a variety of services with high schoolers who can do the work. The bulk of their clients ask for babysitters and tutors, but there are also requests for unique tasks like setting up a baseball batting cage, shoveling snow and teaching violin lessons. Resich says, “With a Facebook group of 80 teen members, it’s fairly easy to find a student to do a job, and if we can’t find someone to do it, Jack or I will do the job ourselves.” They also donate twenty percent of the company’s total earnings to charity. www.Teenagency.org
Chappaqua also has creative teens that are using their artistic gifts to provide useful services and products. Like Tess Greenberg, a Greeley junior, who started a successful business called Tess Arden Photography taking pictures for small events like kids’ parties, bridal showers, christenings and confirmations. Greenberg says “I was inspired to start a business to make some money and do something I love to do.” www.tessarden.wordpress.com
Greeley grad and Duke University freshman, Carly Stern, who started College Kicks last year, uses her artistry to draw college logos and designs on canvas sneakers. “I enjoy getting immersed and lost in the project. I like to see how my designs evolve and change for every job, ” explains Stern. Each one-of-a-kind pair takes her about 5 hours to complete, the perfect side job for a busy college student. To see photos go to Instagram, @carlyscollegekicks or email her at email@example.com
Greeley junior and entrepreneur, Brad Neufeld invented the SCREENZ, high top basketball sneaker covers to protect expensive sneakers from bad weather. The proactive teen worked on all phases of launching a product onto the market, including, shoe design, manufacturing and marketing. Neufeld says, “the biggest challenge with introducing a new product to the market is advertising without spending tons of money. I’ve had to get creative by marketing my product at basketball tournaments, sneaker conventions and on social media.” Sold on the web, Screenz has had sales as far away as Alaska and California. www.bballscreenz.com
Although not a Chappaqua teen, Robert Karp, a senior at Briarcliff High School and one of the most accomplished young business owners in our area, counts on his Chappaqua clients for a third of his company’s revenue . As founder of Karp Enterprises, the 17 year-old frequent flyer guru runs a booming travel business, which specializes in utilizing clients’ points and miles. Karp who works approximately 20 hours a week says the key to running a business while going to high school is to learn how to work as efficiently as possible. “I learn to use every minute. When I’m on hold with an airline, I do homework. When I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, I’m returning emails and researching travel options. But I stop work at 5 p.m. every Friday and Saturday because I’m careful not to let my work over take my life.” Karp will be heading off to Cornell next fall where he plans to continue running his company. www.karpenterprises.com
Armed with a strong innovative and entrepreneurial spirit, more and more Greeley students are showing that success can come at any age. So the next time you think about shopping locally in Chappaqua, you might also want to think about hiring talented local teens.
Deirdre Cohen is an independent network news producer and the mother of two HGHS students (including one of the founders of Varsity Sports Trainers). Over the years, the Cohen family has hired many gifted students including: a jazz trio of former Greeley grads to entertain guests at a 75th birthday party and a young math whiz to take over after two adult tutors failed to do the job.