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Junior group launches Lemontopoly entrepreneurial project

Published: Thursday, March 13, 2014 10:33 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Erica Benson-ebenson@shawmedia.com)
Lemont High School students Conner Brandt (from left) and Connor Koehler sold their Lemontopoly game boards to Lemont Chamber members, including Lemont Township's Elizabeth Ganta during the State of the Village address on Wednesday.

LEMONT – Lemont residents will soon be purchasing local businesses with the roll of a die.

The Lemont High School Junior Achievement organization created Lemontopoly, a local version of the Monopoly board game featuring Lemont businesses and organizations.

A limited 250 boards are being sold for $15 in advance, with delivery expected the second week of April.

Each year, Junior Achievement students choose a business to develop and market.

“We wanted to capture Lemont’s history and the best way to do that is through a Monopoly board,” said junior Connor Koehler, the vice president of marketing for the group.

Faculty advisor John Aspel said the students have to learn all the steps of the business process, such as interviewing companies to manufacture the product and reaching out to advertisers.

They even have to sell stock in the business so there are shareholders to answer to, he said.

Aspel said there were some challenges along the way, as there would be with any business venture.

The students had to get local businesses to purchase ads to fill the spaces on the board. This included some premium spots for higher profile spots like the traditional Boardwalk area. The students also sold advertising on the game currency and cards.

“I really didn’t think we’d meet the final deadline, where we had to sell all the ads,” he said.

Besides having its unique properties, Lemontopoly had to change the name of some of the features of the original Monopoly game.

Lemont does not have a jail, so players go to court instead. The Chance and Community Chest cards are trademarked, so they have the names Lemont Park District CORE and Lemont Public Library District.

Aspel said some of the profits will go to those shareholders and student wages, with the rest being donated to a charity to be determined.

Boards would be for sale for $20 after they arrive, but Koehler said he expects the boards to sell out in pre-orders.

“That will give our company an unheard-of profit this year, which we are very excited about,” he said.

The students will present the results in May at the Chicagoland Junior Achievement Co. of the Year competition, where they will be judged by business professionals.

“The thing [the judges] really want to know is what [the students] learned about the entrepreneurial spirit,” Aspel said.

Koehler said the experience has taught him about leadership and meeting deadlines.

“Our organization as a whole has learned the effects of entrepreneurship and business and how difficult it is,” he said.

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