Soda machine ban means good business for 3 Davis High students

Published: Monday, Jan. 21 2013 11:59 a.m. MST

Spencer Balling, right, buys soft drinks from Zack Longson, left, Cameron Bettolo and Justin Olsen outside Davis High School in Kaysville, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

KAYSVILLE — A ban on soda machines at Davis High School has turned into a business opportunity for three enterprising students.

They set up shop just outside school property a few months ago, and their idea became an instant success.

Soda machines were removed from Davis High School last year after the school was fined $15,000 because the school bookstore sold candy and carbonated drinks during the lunch hour. That was a violation of federal rules for schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program, which specifies when and where sugary drinks can be sold.

With no way to buy soda during lunch at school, 11th-graders Justin Olsen, Zack Longson and Cameron Bettolo decided to take action and sell drinks themselves. They set up shop right outside the school cafeteria.

“I was quite surprised to see that this many people even came out the back way,” Justin said.

“We just sit out here,” Cameron said. “People come buy from us. It’s pretty great.”

Since they are not selling on school property, the principal and school district said it’s not a concern and doesn’t violate any policies.

Student Bryce Haley likes being able to drink soda during his lunch break and thinks the students selling drinks out of a cooler are making lots of money. “A lot of people come out here and buy them,” he said. “It’s really cheap to get a box of cans and sell them for a dollar for two.”

Zack admits he was surprised that the idea would be such a hit. “It’s been going great, besides sitting out here in the cold, obviously,” he said.

Many students walk out of the cafeteria to get their soda and head right back in to drink them with their school lunch.

“It’s a really good price. I think it’s a good deal,” student Jake Anderson said.

Cameron said he didn’t understand the logic behind the soda ban. “I thought that was really stupid,” he said with a sigh. “They’re selling ice cream and Snickers inside the school because it has milk and peanuts, which are good for you. But honestly, I think ice cream and Snickers is just as bad as this stuff.”

The students haven’t decided how they’ll spend their profits. “Just split it up,” Cameron said. “We haven’t done anything with it yet, just bought more soda.”

With business booming, it’s safe to say they don’t plan to quit anytime soon. The teens said they hope to pass on the business to other students after they graduate.

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