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Thursday, September 18, 2008
Burnaby students' junk-food business fills the void left by provincial ban
Cassidy Olivier

Canwest News ServicePublished: Thursday, September 18, 2008

VANCOUVER -- At first glance, they appear to be your average trio of teenage boys more concerned with hockey and girls than business and economics.

But come lunchtime and after school, the friends transform from awkward Grade 11s into savvy businessmen who've bypassed the provincial ban on junk food sales in schools to amass a tiny fortune.
And according to the boys -- who go by the monikers WeeMan, The Fern and Goggles -- business in the underground junk food world has been booming ever since the school bell rang two weeks ago.

The students at Moscrop Secondary in Burnaby figure they've made about $300 so far by selling classmates and teachers contraband candy, chocolate bars and potato chips -- foods which have been removed from high school vending machines under legislation that came into effect this September.

"Business is excellent and it is blooming," said Goggles, 16. "It is a great success."
"It is the best idea we've ever had," added The Fern, 16.
He said the idea to sell the banned products began as a joke when he learned about junk food ban in high schools. The ban will be extended to elementary schools in January.

But the jokes became reality when he teamed up with Goggles and WeeMan, 15, and made a bulk purchase of candy and chocolate.
Original Fresh, their business, now has its own Facebook page and the trio hand out business cards to their customers. This week, WeeMan began a text-messaging service and classroom deliveries. Yesterday, he said he made about $40.

"The kids want it and we just want to give them what they want," said WeeMan. "I'm not really into it for the money."
He said Skittles, Fuzzy Peaches and Kit Kat bars are the hot items.
Grade 8 student Anna Codrescu, whose weekly candy expenditure ranges up to $10 and who is a dedicated Original Fresh customer, said the boys provide a needed service.

"It is not like they are trying to get the whole school addicted to candy," she said. "Kids are kids and they want to enjoy their childhood. Nobody wants to eat healthy all the time."

Moscrop principal Reno Ciolfi said he's spoken with the boys and doesn't take issue as long as they don't do business on school property or from their lockers, as they'd initially been doing.

WeeMan said the group is looking to expand to neighbouring schools and possibly throughout the province. He said he's already pitched the idea to a student at Burnaby Central Secondary.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2008

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