When third-grade teacher Shaina Belsky encouraged her students to write a letter to Barnes & Noble's leadership in response to their local store closing, she figured it would be a good way to teach them to take action when they faced problems: a teaching opportunity! What Ms. Belsky didn't anticipate was that her suggestion would turn into a total win-win situation.
The students from Daytona Beach, Florida composed a persuasive and personal letter to the CEO of Barnes & Noble, Demos Parneros, sharing their dismay at the loss of the store where they could practice math by looking at sale prices, study, and eat at the cafe. And it worked! A short while later, Barnes & Noble sent Frank Morabito, its VP of retail operations, to tell Ms. Belsky's class that they had been heard.
"The fact that it came from a group of third-graders was really compelling," Mr. Morabito said of the letter. And, speaking on behalf of the whole organization, he told the students: "It was important to us, not only that we didn't disappoint you but we didn't disappoint the community."
From the Chief Executive down, Barnes & Noble's leaders took action to keep the Daytona Beach store open, negotiating to renew the lease that they had been close to losing. Mr. Morabito told the class of young students that it was thanks to their initiative that the negotiations happened.
"It means a lot to me," said a student named Brooke Hoobler, "and it makes me feel like I'm an important part of the world."
Yes you are, Brooke! And a round of applause to Barnes & Noble for this wonderful response to an impassioned request.