For one Shields Elementary student, giving back to the community is an integral part of running a business.
Fifth-grader Minnie Pettengell launched Sugar & Scrubs by Minnie in spring 2020, initially to solve her own skin issues – bumps on her arms that couldn’t be soothed with existing products. So, she created her own base scrub she mixes with coconut oil, sugar, Epsom salt, and additional essential and scented oils.
She gave samples to teachers, who loved the products, and then started selling scrubs in a lemonade-stand format outside her home, said mother Brandi Townsend, a fifth-grade teacher at Shields. After positive feedback and strong sales, a business was born.
Minnie said she had to research what mixtures to use so the scrubs could survive heat and shipping, and through trial and error, perfected her recipes.
Soon, Minnie wanted to use her business to help those in need. Townsend said she has witnessed firsthand how Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation has helped students.
“When she wanted to donate, CHEF seemed an obvious choice,” Townsend said.
“I wanted to do something to help the community and other kids, so I asked Mrs. Nauman if that would be OK,” Minnie said.
Cape Assistant Superintendent Jenny Nauman said she has known Minnie since she was a kindergartener; Nauman was previously principal at Shields.
“Her kind heart and quick mind make her such an exceptional young lady,” Nauman said. “Minnie shared with me a sample of her new Cape scrub and I immediately loved it. I was certainly impressed with her entrepreneurial efforts and the product. We brainstormed a way to get the product out to our Cape community and to donate locally. She decided CHEF would be a great benefactor as they support our entire district. I love being a part of this Cape community, and our kids consistently make me proud!”
CHEF is a nonprofit organization that funds teacher grants for unbudgeted classroom projects, support for homeless and limited-income students, STEM initiatives, performing arts education and training, and programs to promote diversity and inclusion.
CHEF Board Vice President Calvin Jackson said the organization was pleased to have the support of one of the district’s students.
"The Cape Henlopen Educational Foundation depends on the generosity of our community to help us provide students with the tools they need to excel,” Jackson said. “This heartfelt fundraiser by one of the youngest members of our community is truly incredible."
Minnie said she picked two scents that go well together, blueberry and lemonade, whose blue and yellow shades also represent Cape colors, and created a sugar salt scrub to sell, with 10 percent of all proceeds going to CHEF.
Even more than creating scrubs, Minnie said she enjoys the marketing aspect of her business – keeping ledgers and counting inventory, and collaborating with other local businesses, including Swell Joe Coffee Co. and Surf Bagel, to create complementary products.