A new way to ‘rock’ your spirit

Website makes reservation of school spirit rocks easy, earns schools money at no cost

by Josh Whitener

Thanks to one Waxhaw woman’s new e-commerce business, folks don’t have to waste time and gas driving to their school to reserve the school’s spirit rock; they can conveniently do it with just the click of a button.

The website MySpiritRock.com, which launched July 1, allows parents and students to view available dates to use their school’s spirit rock – large rocks located in front of the school where messages, announcements and shout outs are spray painted – and make a reservation without ever leaving their home.

In 2007, MySpiritRock.com’s founder, Katharine Strock, and her husband discovered an opportunity to thrive in the Charlotte area through e-commerce businesses and started several, including PineNeedles4Sale.com, Mulch4Sale.com and Firewood4Sale.com. But it was several years later when Strock discovered the need for a web-based spirit rock reservation system.

Strock had a difficult time reserving the spirit rock for her son’s birthday in September because of the back-to-school craziness that plagues families every year. By the time she made it up to the school office to make her reservation, the date was usually already taken.

“If the spirit rock calendar had been online, I could have accessed it from home and chosen the date that we needed, completed payment and (received) a reminder email about the day that we had chosen, along with all of the guidelines and rules that apply to decorating the spirit rock,” Strock said in an email.

And that’s exactly what MySpiritRock.com is designed to accomplish. Through the website, parents, students and school staff can avoid the hassle of paper scheduling and having to make payments directly through the school’s office. Customers can view the availability of their school’s spirit rock online and make their reservation in real time. MySpiritRock.com acts as a third party, making sure customers get the dates they want while ensuring the schools get paid.

“In today’s world, people prefer to do the majority of their daily clerical tasks online,” Strock said in an email. “MySpiritRock.com allows parents and schools to sign up for their child’s special message online, without having to take time away from the school’s staff and without having to leave their home or office.”

For customers, the cost to reserve a spirit rock is a $1.99 processing fee plus the price each school sets for the use of the spirit rock. For the schools, there is no cost to register their spirit rock with the website and every bit of the school’s set spirit rock fee goes back to the school.

Customers can reserve the front, back or sides of the rock or the entire spirit rock up to 180 days in advance. In the event of inclement weather, rain dates are available and can be chosen from one of the other open dates.

Schools that have no spirit rock, or those looking to upgrade or replace, can receive a free spirit rock if the school signs a five-year agreement stating that MySpiritRock.com will be the school’s exclusive spirit rock reservation source and provider. For customers at these schools, the cost to reserve the spirit rock is a $2.99 processing fee plus the school’s set reservation fee.

But the website isn’t about helping the schools raise money just through spirit rock reservations. MySpiritRock.com customers can take photos of their spirit rock artwork and submit them to enter the annual Spirit Rock Design Contest. The winner will receive $250, and an additional $250 will be donated to the winner’s school.

MySpiritRock.com also embellishes clothing with the photographs. The website sells T-shirts with a picture of the spirit rock artwork on the back and the MySpiritRock.com logo on the front, donating 15 percent of the proceeds to the customer’s school.

MySpiritRock.com provides helpful tips for those planning to create a masterpiece on their school’s spirit rock, such as what type of paint to use, how much paint to purchase and how long it usually takes to dry. In addition, policies are listed online and specify what can and cannot be painted on the rock.

In the coming months, Strock hopes schools, parents and students in the Charlotte region can help get the word out about MySpiritRock.com, encouraging schools to register their spirit rock with the website and use the site as the reservation tool.

“As business owners, we’ve come to learn that the best form of advertisement is by word of mouth and referrals,” Strock said in an email. “If schools are willing to try our service, they will find that it is a very useful tool both from a financial and resource-utilization perspective.”

Strock hopes to soon expand the services of MySpiritRock.com to create MySpiritRock.mobi, an application that would allow customers to access the website and make reservations easily via their mobile phone.

For more information or to make a comment or suggestion, visit www.myspiritrock.com or email katharine@myspiritrock.com.

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