Money Making Miners


Photo courtesy of Car Lovers, Jacob Berube, Tyler Monson.

Haylie Ballou, Staff Writer

A lazy, distracted teenager could not own a business if they were only interested in friends and making it to the weekend. Jake Berube, Matt Minaga, Tanner Burton, and Ethan Darby have all done something to make themselves unusual: they set their sights higher and started their own businesses as seniors in high school.

These four money-making miners have an interest in common. Matt and Tanner have an interest in cars and made a business out of taking care of them. Jake Berube is a contributor to the school computer system and website, but his business deals with web design, photography and other computer aspects inside and outside of school. Ethan Darby is starting a longboard shop. At first, Ethan’s business started out as a joke, but two days later it turned into a serious idea. Two months later it was a registered business.

These students are either beginning their own business, co-owning it, or have been profiting from it for years. One of the biggest difficulties they found when starting their business was simply finding a good name for it. Matt and Tanner wanted something catchy and came up with Car Lovers as the title. Ethan thought of a name for his longboard shop but found out it was already taken. To avoid copywrite, he thought of a new one, The Longboard Shack. While Jake’s company is named Jacob Berube Media Productions (in association with LLC), he says it is too long and soon wants to rename it as Skyline Media LLC.

Starting the business is another story. To make it legal and get it registered is not difficult at all.

“It’s like fifteen bucks; it’s so easy,” said Jake “You just fill out some paperwork and wait a little bit ‘til they approve it. It’s not hard to start a business.”

For Matt and Tanner, it was a different experience. Not only did they need to register the business, but they needed to collect supplies for the cars they cleaned. They practiced on their families’ cars to make sure they had perfected their service before accepting any real customers. Ethan needed to collect supplies, but in a different way. He wants to sell his longboards as retail, which means he needs to get other companies to sell to him.

Trying to sell yourself as professional can be difficult for a teenager.

“Businesses don’t love teenagers at all. Like you go into a store and they think you’re going to steal something, but if you got an adult, they trust you,” said Ethan. His dad, Trevor Darby, is helping Ethan get business for the shop. The two of them are working together because, as Ethan said, other companies trust an adult more than they would trust a teenager. Ethan expects things to get a little harder when he officially opens the store. He’ll be in charge of his own staff and the merchandise he sells while also needing to keep up with his school work.

“It’s going to be an online store, so people will be ordering and they order when they want to,” said Ethan. “They don’t order when it’s convenient for you.”

 After getting everything they needed, life was easier for Matt and Tanner. They work on cars during the weekend and occasionally one or two during the week. They found a really good balance between school and work, making it possible for them to get a job done on school nights.

“The best part about owning your own business is you get to choose when you have time,” said Tanner. “We tell our customers when we have time, and that’s when they decide when they want their cars done.”

It is more difficult for Jake to keep up with everything at one time. Though he really tries not to miss school, it is sometimes necessary so he can keep up with work. About a year ago he said it wasn’t a big deal, but now he is doing something for his job every day. Still, he has a positive attitude about it.

“Between that and personal projects, hobbies, hanging out with friends, and then school, it has been really busy, but my self-esteem is always the highest when I’m doing a lot of stuff at once,” said Jake.

Matt and Tanner plan on continuing their business after graduating, but they aren’t sure exactly about all the details. If they don’t run it themselves then they would either sell it or pass it on to someone else. Jake says he would like to specialize in one area, whether it is photography, web design, or another interest. Ethan is planning on going to college and isn’t sure if he would be able to keep it going. Nothing is set in stone for any of them, but they have a general idea of what they would like to do after high school.