The Intern Becomes the Mentor — 1

During his senior year at the Met, LaFonzo Ross interned at Our 2nd Chance, a thrift store in East Sacramento. During his time as an intern, LaFonzo became very familiar with the business side of things, was a hard-worker, and his mentor took notice. He acquired a job at the thrift shop during non-internship days, due to his work ethic. Little did he know, little did we all know, LaFonzo would own said thrift store only a year later.

LaFonzo is the proud owner of “Fonzie’s,” a thrift store previously known as Our 2nd Chance. To give a bit of background as to how all of this took place, LaFonzo’s mentor wanted to sell the business. She had a buyer, but then decided not to sell. LaFonzo quickly suggested that she sell him the business. They made a deal, and the rest is, as they say, history!

LaFonzo has been invested in the store since he was an intern. He has taken ownership with his own philosophy of how to run the store: “Thrift store items, at thrift store prices, while maintaining a thrift store feel.” LaFonzo noticed that the items at the store were being labeled, in his opinion, too high in price. He wanted to maintain the feel of what a thrift store is, an affordable place for people to find good deals. His words to me, which make a lot of sense, “The fun in it is buying something worth a lot of money, for less money. I don’t want to take that away from the customers.” That was his first executive decision!

Along with making decisions, because it is his store, LaFonzo is also responsible for keeping the store open. That means sell, sell, sell! While the main area of the thrift store is all items for sale, next door lives a small little shop where LaFonzo offers shelf space to people who would like to sell their own thrift/vintage items and homemade crafts. He has what is known as items on consignment. This area also is where much of the furniture up for sale at Fonzie’s is refurbished. LaFonzo has an employee that fixes and re-upholster’s old furniture to be sold. I asked LaFonzo where he finds all of these great gems. He seriously has great furniture pieces! He said that most of what you see in his store has been donated. You heard that right! Donated! People call him to pick up items, or they simply drop them off. That is another reason he doesn’t want to over price the items. According to LaFonzo, “I get a lot for free, so I want to make sure I sell it at a fair price.” He is well aware that he has a quota to meet, and some days are great, while others are not. In the end, he says, “It all balances out.”

We don’t know what the future holds for LaFonzo and his new business, but he does have a few goals he hopes to reach. He wants to 1) open a second location, and 2) offer jobs to people who are down on their luck, those who are having a hard time finding a job. LaFonzo is a caring person, who wants to succeed while helping others do the same, which is why he took a Met Sacramento student as his intern.

Elias Lorta has interned for LaFonzo this academic year, and we couldn’t be happier. LaFonzo reached out to me earlier in the year, requesting we send him an intern. Elias has been trusted to do just about everything at Fonzie’s. He has a supportive mentor to help him along the way.

Lastly, I just had to ask LaFonzo, because I know what I would do if it were me, “Do you ever take anything home, since all of this is yours?” His response, “Yes, I took a painting that I really liked.” Umm, LaFonzo, I would have taken more.

Thank you, LaFonzo, for the tour, and the talk! The Met Sacramento is so very proud of you, and all of your accomplishments. We also thank you for offering to mentor our students. We wish you much success with your new business!

2 thoughts on “The Intern Becomes the Mentor — 1

  1. Vince Wolfe says:

    I’m so impressed! LaFonzo worked so well and so hard there that he was given this awesome opportunity. Great job LaFonzo and best of luck to you and your business.


  2. Tannia says:

    Wow! This is amazing! It’s nice to know that Met students were once interns and now become mentors. The Met is doing a good job and the kids are doing a Great job! Thank you for these stories


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