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April 12, 2017
Ohio 10th anniversary

How does our city work? Students across central Ohio experience first-hand what it takes through JA BizTown, a core program of Junior Achievement of Central Ohio®. JA BizTown connects classroom curriculum to the real world through a day-long simulation that teaches the responsibilities of economics, citizenship and working together as part of a community.

In JA BizTown, students run the city. Each shop has a CEO, CFO, and other employee positions. The team’s goal is to pay off their business loan by the end of the day – making business decisions and buying and selling products and services.

In addition, students also manage their personal finances and respond to life events, such as getting sick, voting or going to college to continue their education. All shops are based on real companies in the city of Columbus.

JA Biztown’s purpose is to prepare today's students for tomorrow's workplace. Since workforce readiness is a critical issue for the construction industry, we value their role in our community. At Pepper, we are committed to investing our time and resources in organizations and initiatives like JA. 

Below are 10 shops found at JA BizTown in central Ohio.

01.  Cardinal Health and the Columbus Blue Jackets

Ensuring the health and well-being of JA BizTown citizens through pharmaceutical and medical services. Citizens visit the Columbus Blue Jackets’ station if they have a sickness or injury. The team doctor provides a diagnosis and directs them to the Cardinal Health Pharmacy to fill their prescriptions. The students running these businesses also generate revenue by selling first-aid kits and tickets to Blue Jackets’ games.



02.  ODW Logistics

The delivery hub for all the gifts and goods purchased throughout JA BizTown. The ODW team manages inventory, sorts packages, determines delivery routes and delivers the items to the businesses and citizens throughout the day.



03.  ThirtyOne Gifts

A retail destination where JA BizTown citizens shop. Here, the retailer conducts a fashion survey of its customers and then sets up the shopping experience including a sitting area, refreshments and merchandise displays.



04.  IGS Energy

The energy supplier for JA BizTown. Businesses choose whether they would like a fixed or variable rate through the station’s Energy Consultant; if they choose a variable rate, they take a chance and spin the wheel. While at the shop, citizens also take an energy quiz.



05.  CD 102.5

The local radio station in JA BizTown. Citizens are encouraged to vote for their favorite song of the day to improve listener ratings, and businesses purchase ad time which is later recorded by the “Production Director”. One of the most popular jobs in JA Biztown is being the DJ. Students learn how to work the playlist editor and introduce songs that play throughout the day.



06.  State Farm

The insurance provider for the citizens of JA BizTown. Each business is automatically given insurance and pays fees for the coverage. However, it is up to each individual student whether they purchase personal insurance or decline coverage. If they choose not to purchase, they run the risk of having an “accident” and paying out of pocket for the incident. Insurance agents collect dues as well as costs incurred from accidents.



07.  Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO)

Encourages environmental responsibility through recycling services. The Outreach Director delivers a sales pitch to the other businesses on the importance of recycling. If the business decides to recycle, they receive a recycling bin and are provided a “Green Spot” sign to display. They also create pop tab bracelets out of recycled materials to sell during the JA Biztown shopping period.



08.  Discover and Huntington

Fulfilling the banking needs of the citizens of JA BizTown. Discover is the online banking system platform and distributes debit cards. The citizens can use the cards to shop in the afternoon. Huntington operates as a brick and mortar bank where citizens request their business loan or cash their paycheck with the bank teller. Citizens also use the ATM to withdraw “money” for a soda with lunch or save it for the afternoon shopping trip.



09.  Columbus Foundation and Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC)

Non-profit organizations that accept donations and provide sponsorship opportunities. Columbus Foundation employees collect donations and sponsorships from the citizens, to support a building renovation for the YWCA, COSI, or the Columbus Zoo. GCAC allows businesses to sponsor a specific piece of art, and if a piece of art is sponsored, it is displayed for all citizens of JA BizTown to see at the Art Festival at the end of the day.



10.  Raising Cane’s and Donatos

Two food options for JA BizTown citizens and businesses. Raising Cane’s caters staff meetings by taking orders and delivering pretend lunches to the businesses. Donatos sells and serves beverages before lunch and delivers pretend pizzas at the end of the day to thank volunteers.


JA of Central Ohio serves more than 21,800 students in 14 different counties, and Pepper Ohio is proud to be a long-time supporter. With only five weeks until our 8th Annual Casino Night benefiting JA of Central Ohio, we’re excited to see if we can break last year’s record. Visit the Casino Night 2017 website to sponsor or purchase tickets for the event. We look forward to seeing you there!

About the Author


Paul FrancoisPresident, Ohio

Paul is responsible for overseeing the financial and operational success of Pepper Ohio. He began his career with Pepper serving in project management, after earning his Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University. He gained a broad range of project experience, from healthcare to industrial projects, and with specializations in commercial interior and institutional projects, where he worked with some of Pepper's most established clients. He also demonstrated a keen understanding of business acumen and company leadership that made him a natural fit to assume the role of president in 2006.

Paul is active in industry organizations, currently serving as a board member and the chair of the facilities committee for Junior Achievement of Central Ohio and as an Industry Advisory Council board member at Iowa State University. A strong advocate for community involvement, Paul also invests his time with several central Ohio charities and educational programs, such as the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement and the Little Miami River Clean-Up.