ST. GEORGE — The excitement was palpable at Crimson View Elementary Friday as officials from Dixie Direct descended upon the school to hand out awards to the top student salesmen of their saving guide.
For 23 years, Dixie Direct has forged an alliance with area schools and local businesses. The annual savings guide offers consumers the chance to take advantage of many buy-one-get-one-free offers as well as deep discounts at participating restaurants and retailers.
Much more than simply a discount book, Dixie Direct Savings Guide has a component that benefits schools.
Dixie Direct offers students the chance to become entrepreneurs in their own right by selling the $35 guide with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit their school. More than 25 schools participated in this year’s efforts.
Since the symbiotic relationship began, Dixie Direct has donated $5.5 million to local schools and participating organizations, said Tony Chambers, Dixie Direct owner. He added more than $120,000 was donated to area schools this year from student sales of the savings guide.
The beauty is in the business model, Chambers added.
“Nobody pays for the guide upfront,” he said. “Part of the motivation for doing Dixie Direct the way we do it is that instead of students selling cookie dough or gift wrap paper, which requires payment (for the product in advance), we do not.”
In this digital age, Chambers said, it would be easier to funnel people to a website to purchase the guide, but that would shortcut the intent of shop local, support local and provide students the opportunity to take ownership and responsibility of a business process, he said.
“This is an old-school way of getting kids out of their comfort level,” Chambers said.
Although not required to participate in the sales of the guide, for the students it can be a positive motivational tool.
“These kids just get excited about this,” Chambers added. “It gives them responsibility … and a sense of ownership.”
This year, the students at Crimson View sold more than 430 books and raised almost $7,700 for their school.
The top three sales students included Natalie McArthur, first place, Jakobe Lee, second place and Jazella Garcia, third. For their efforts, the top three won a $200, $100 and $50 Visa gift cards respectively.
Although two students could not remember how many guides they sold, second place winner Jakobe Lee was proud to say, “22.”
Along with the top three sales force, 88 other students who sold at least two savings guides received backpacks filled with freebies that included a coupon for a McDonald’s happy meal – a big hit with the children – a free donut from Daylight Donuts and a free Golden Corral buffet.
Two other students, who were chosen at random, came away winning a brand new bicycle, and one student received a pass for six friends and family members to attend Dixie State University athletic games.
More than about just winning awards, it teaches the student that they can achieve anything if they set their sights on a goal, said second-grade teacher Stacey McGinnis.
“I think it teaches the kids that what they work for they can attain,” McGinnis added. “Problem-solving is a big part of our school, and if they are engaged with that process they can figure it out.”
Crimson View mom, Michelle Sullivan, said her fourth-grade daughter loves to do anything to support her school, but more than that the program brings a sense of accomplishment.
“She does her best,” Sullivan said. “If she is close to (her goal) it gives her the incentive to sell just one more.”
Company representatives from Dixie Direct spent the better part of Thursday and Friday visiting schools and handing out donations and awards.
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