South students learn valuable lessons through family businesses

Abby McKew, staff writer

From beauty salons to supplying welding supplies, South’s families own all kinds of local businesses. While many students may look for jobs at the local supermarket or park district, some are given the opportunity to find unique experiences in their work for their family’s business.

Junior Emma Hogan, has been working for her family business, the Red Rooster sandwich and deli shop, since the age of 10. Because it was her family business, Hogan was able to start working at a much younger age than most students at South allowing her to gain a stronger sense of responsibility, Hogan said. 

“Working from a young age has allowed me to experience what it is like to work,” Hogan said. “It has made me a better person interacting with people all the time.”

Hogan’s favorite aspect of working with her family is being able to spend so much time together, she said. This strengthens the family bonds they share and contributes to her enjoyment of her work.

“I think it’s nice to be in an understanding environment and work with people that I enjoy spending my time with,” Hogan said. “Being able to spend time with my family has allowed us to become a lot closer.”

Working at a sandwich and Deli shop, Hogan is able to converse with customers from very different backgrounds, she described. Hogan explained how she also enjoys hearing what her customers have to say. 

“I like meeting new people and hearing stories from customers,” Hogan said. “I have heard stories about people who have fought in the war and many other things that I would not have had exposure to if I had not worked.”

Junior Any Enkhsaikhan learned similar skills to Hogan working at her mom’s beauty salon. Being a receptionist provided Enkhsaikhan the opportunity to improve her social skills and to be comfortable talking with customers, she explained. 

 “I learned how to answer phone calls and talk professionally,” Enkhsaikhan said. “It was just fun working with a lot of different people.”

For Enkhsaikhan, working at her mom’s beauty salon goes beyond just learning valuable life skills, she said. It has also influenced Enkhsaikhan’s plans for the future by helping her figure out what she wants to do for a career. 

“Working at my mom’s salon has helped me realize that I want to go into business because I can provide a service for other people and it just seems like a really fun thing to do,” Enkhsaikhan said. 

Senior Max O’Mera’s plans for the future were also changed as a result of working in his family business, O’Mera said. By working for his dad’s company, Weldcote Metals, a producer of welding supplies, O’Mera learned that he does not want to work for a company similar to his dad’s in the future.  

“I want to do my own thing,” O’Mera said. “I don’t want to follow after my dad, I want to make my own path, but [working] has definitely taught me some things I want to look for in a future job.”

Working in the shipping department requires O’Mera to complete a variety of tasks. O’Mera explained how he takes in orders, puts them on the correct shelves and checks that the correct items are in a package. These tasks have taught O’Mera what goes into a business like his dad’s.  

“I have worked a few different jobs that are a little less typical of a normal office job and this has allowed me to see how different parts of the company work together,” O’Mera said. 

Another student who works for their family business is senior Mary Kate Daly, who is a hostess and busser at her father’s bar and restaurant Iron Horse Ale House. Although working can occasionally be frustrating for Daly, she looks forward to working especially on Saint Patrick’s Day. 

“There’s a lot of Irish people that my dad is friends with and we have a big Irish family, so Saint Patrick’s day at the restaurant is crazy busy,” Daly said. “Whenever I am working on Saint Patrick’s Day I get to see so many of my friends and family and it’s really great to see the whole community together. It’s so interesting seeing everyone dancing, drinking, singing and having a good time.”