CWU apparel major completing internship at Prosser boutique

Andrea Wright also grew up in Prosser; plans to move to Nashville after graduation

Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldJuly 14, 2014 

Andrea Wright

Andrea Wright, Prosser resident, fixes a display of handbags at Pizzaz! on Meade Ave. Wright, who is completing her degree from Central Washington University studying apparent textiles and merchandising, is working as in intern at the store.

SARAH GORDON — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

PROSSER -- Andrea Wright is spending her summer working in retail each day, including weekends -- and not getting paid a dime for it.

It's part of an internship program the 23-year-old is completing as part of requirements needed to earn a degree in apparel, textiles and merchandising and a minor in fashion design from Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

She could have done her internship in a big city with a big department store chain but instead she chose Pizzazz!, a unique boutique in downtown Prosser.

"I'm really not much of a big-city girl," she said. "I grew up in Prosser, so doing my internship here means I'll save money because I can live at home."

Pizzazz! owner Candace Andrews was thrilled to have Wright come work for her. And she said she couldn't be happier about the fresh new look and ideas Wright has brought to the store.

"She's not only given Pizzazz a wonderful new look, she created Pinterest and Instagram programs for the store that have already attracted new followers," she said. "And she's created a newsletter that encourages more merchants to take part in our First Friday event."

Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board on the web, and Instagram is an online photo and video sharing social network.

Wright also took on the duties for organizing the store's two-year anniversary celebration July 18-20. Pizzazz! is at 1110 Meade Ave. in downtown Prosser.

"It'll be a fun day with morning and afternoon specials each day, along with door prizes, music and lots of treats," Wright said.

She doesn't mind working seven days a week because there's always something to do in retail, she said. And the no-pay aspect of the internship is not a problem because her degree is more important.

"This job has let me be creative, and Candace lets me rearrange the (selling) floor as often as I want," Wright said. "Internships are great because they really do teach you more about retail than you can learn at school."

That hands-on training includes ordering supplies and creating displays to attract customers.

The internship requires Wright to log 410 hours between June 16 and Aug. 22 at the shop. She also must keep a journal of her work. At the end of the internship, Andrews will be required to fill out a form critiquing her performance.

"I appreciate the opportunity that CWU gives its students to participate in a programmatic internship," Andrews said. "And that program advisers recognize that small, very small, retails shops can provide a broad business experience for students."

When her internship ends, Wright will have her degrees but is in no hurry to launch a full-time fashion career. She plans on moving to Nashville with a friend first.

"There's no particular reason other than Nashville seems like a cool place," she said. "It's a little big for me, but I'm willing to give it a try."

-- Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @dorioneal

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