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Students put Farmer Tom marketing map

Eva Tillis, a School of Technology student looks on as Mackensie Blankenship (center) and Allison Wallace (right) present their findings on Farmer Tom’s Produce Stand. Mackensie and Allison landed first place in the state competition. Tillis earned third place with her civic consciousness project. The students will compete in Nashville. Jenny Walling / LTN Photo

A pair of School of Technology students have a dream to fulfill in Nashville that has nothing to do with country music.
Mackensie Blankenship and Allison Wallace plan to compete with students from all over the world at the International Career Development Conference in Nashville at the end of April.
“I just hope we can impress the judges at nationals as much as we did at state,” said Mackensie.
The two girls already took first place in the state competition for food marketing research at North Carolina Career Development Conference in Greensboro.
The girls presented a 30 page paper on food marketing.
“When people do that, they usually use grocery stores, and we wanted to do something original,” said Allison.
The girls focused on Farmer Tom’s Stand on 27 West. Putting together the project took a lot of time.
“It was months of work, not just hours,” said Mackensie.
Although they talked to Farmer Tom briefly, he has never read their paper.
“I don’t think he would want to read 30 pages,” said Mackensie.
Composing the research paper required a lot of the two students. The girls surveyed Farmer Tom’s customers, found statistics on Lincoln County and put together an in depth improvement plan.
“We stayed after school everyday working on it,” said Allison. “We wanted to win.”
The hard work paid off. At the state competition they beat out approximately 25 other projects to secure first place. At the international competition they could face up to 130 competitors.
Around 13,000 students from the United States, Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, Germany, Mexico, the Virgin Islands and Korea are expected to attend the conference.
Mackensie and Allison will be joined by 12 other students from the School of Technology who placed at the state conference.
“I think everyone that’s going has great potential.” said Tammy Gilmore, the club’s advisor. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t take them.”
All the students are members of DECA, a non-profit international career and technical student organization for marketing.
The students became close while attending the state conference.
“We just all kind of clung together,” said Mackensie. “We all ended up becoming best friends.”The school’s DECA club are having a barbecue fund raiser on April 14. The money raised will help send the 12 finalists to Nashville. by Sarah Grano

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