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WHS junior to operate Beach Nook

Jessica Arnt will be running the Beach Nook this summer on the shores of Lake Okabena.

WORTHINGTON -- Most high school kids don't buy a business as their summer job.

But Jessica Arnt isn't like most high schoolers.

This summer, Arnt -- who will be a junior at Worthington High School next fall -- will be running the Beach Nook at Centennial Park on the shore of Lake Okabena. The Beach Nook is currently open for business.

"I thought it would be a fun summer project to do," Arnt said. "I saw that it was for sale and I kind of wanted to do it, but I wasn't really sure what my parents would say. I asked them and they told me they could buy it, and I was kind of excited for that."

Arnt had been working at Bob and Steve's Shell in Worthington, but was excited when this opportunity arose.

"You always try to give your kids an advantage in life and we thought this was a good experience for her," said Pat Arnt, Jessica's mother. "She was working at Bob and Steve's and Roger Grimmius came in there one day and said he wanted to sell it, and she was just thrilled.

"For about three months, she bugged us about it," Pat continued. "We didn't really want to do it. We just gave into her, and we think it's going to be a good experience. We gave her a limited amount of money she could spend, so we'll see how it goes from there."

One of the aspects that appealed to Jessica was her ability to be her own boss.

"I just like working for myself," she said. "I worked at Bob and Steve's before, so I sold stuff and did those kinds of things. I just thought it would be a good opportunity."

While at Bob and Steve's, Jessica learned how to interact with customers, a skill she'll use at the Beach Nook.

"I'm more excited than nervous," Jessica said. "We've been open for about a week and seeing the different people that come in and talking to them, I think the busiest days are the most fun days."

Pat said she thinks Jessica will get quality business and life experience.

"I think she'll learn how to manage money -- and things aren't always free," Pat said. "She's going to have to mark the product up enough to make a profit and schedule hours where people will have to be there. There will be a lot of experience in managing it."

The weather hasn't been great this summer, but the ice cream cones have still been a hot item.

"We've sold a lot of ice cream so far," Jessica said. "The most busy days were Sunday and Monday, and we sold about 300 ice cream cones in just those few days. We had to hand-dip all those by ourselves. It was pretty fun."

The Beach Nook is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and features items like hand-dipped ice cream and shakes, pizza, hot dogs, nachos, chips, candy, pop and popcorn. As far as the ice cream, flavors include vanilla, strawberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, cookies and cream, mint chip, birthday cake, cotton candy, chocolate marshmallow and chocolate.

Along with running the Beach Nook, Jessica will be responsible for keeping the beach and surrounding area clean. That includes raking the beach, picking up the green space around the building and cleaning the restrooms.

The biggest challenge, according to Jessica, will be "staying open on the slow days, I think. Even when it was raining, we were open for some of those days, and it was really boring."

When she's not starting her own business, Jessica is involved in choir, marching band, the school musical and her church youth group.

"We are going to Texas in July for the national youth gathering for a whole week," Jessica said. "I'm going to have to leave this place to my parents for a whole week. I'm kind of nervous about that."

Jessica admitted her summer will go fast with the responsibilities and hours she'll have.

"I've been here every day since we opened and I'm planning on being here every day for the rest of the summer," she said. "It is kind of difficult because I am in marching band and I do church worship team and I'm going on a trip in July, so I am kind of busy with other things, so my parents will help me out there. I know they are going to get busy with their business pretty soon because they have an aerial spraying business. Then I'll have to be here by myself, and it will take up a lot of my friend time and stuff like that. But I'm willing to do that."

For all the latest updates, follow the Beach Nook on Twitter (@TheBeachNook).

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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.