Courtesy Photo | The Advertiser From left, Tuscola Technology Center marketing students Brooklyn Hill (Cass City High School), Amanda Enos (Mayville High School) and Erin Ertman (Millington High School) are teaming with Caro restaurant Los Padres in an effort to market the business, which opened in May.

A trio of local students are set to get a hands-on lesson in business marketing.

CARO – A trio of local students are set to get a hands-on lesson in business marketing. And they won’t have far to travel. Amanda Enos, Brooklyn Hill and Erin Ertman – all students of instructor Cindy Olson in the Tuscola Technology Center’s marketing class – will join with management to promote Caro restaurant Los Padres.

Los Padres opened in May at 1144 Cleaver Road, the home of the former Mancino’s Italian Eatery. The restaurant focuses on cooking California-style Mexican cuisine. It features lunch and dinner menus and includes items such as tostadas, chimichangas, flautas and tamales, along with familiar Mexican dishes like nachos, tacos and burritos. 

The Tech Center is just a half mile north of Los Padres at 1401 Cleaver Road. “The partnership started after several of my students and I ate lunch there before attending a DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) conference in November,” Olson said. “I’m always encouraging students to work with local businesses and when we were served a delicious meal quickly, we really just wanted to help them spread the word.”

Students who attend the Tech Center spend half of the school day at the facility, and the other half at their home high school. Hill attends Cass City, Enos is a Mayville student and Ertman goes to Millington. “They are using this opportunity to build their marketing skills while giving back to the community,” Olson said. 

The students met with the restaurant’s owners, wife and husband Kelly and Randy Whittaker of Caro, and have created flyers and are taking to multiple social media platforms to reach out to the community, Olson said. “We met at the Tech Center and we’re going to meet again,” Kelly Whittaker said. “The girls are currently working on some flyers that they’re going to hang up in the break rooms at businesses that are close by.”

Whittaker hopes the project results in local employees ordering from Los Padres on their lunch break. The students are also revamping the restaurant’s Instagram, Facebook and other social media pages with additions that “we may not have explored yet,” Kelly Whittaker said. In the past year, Caro has welcomed several new businesses to town, including Los Padres, Aldi’s Grocery Store and Marshalls. 

“Los Padres is just another addition to the flourishing Caro market,” Olson said. “Caro has experienced incredible growth this past year.” The students will take the marketing ideas they implemented at Los Padres and present them at the DECA state competition in March.

“We will meet again and see what ideas we come up with,” Kelly Whittaker said. “It’s cool for them to get hands-on experience and it’s awesome for us to be able to work with students with great marketing ideas.” Los Padres is looking at upgrading its business in other ways. Although the restaurant hasn’t catered in the past, it took a shot at providing food for about 125 attendees at a New Year’s Eve event at the Bad Axe Meijer store. It was a success.

“So we’re going to focus on catering,” Whittaker said. “We also want to have self-serve taco and nacho bars, and we have everything in place to start. “And we plan on reaching out to the Tech Center for that too.” Los Padres is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Although closed on Sunday, Whittaker said patrons will soon be able to utilize the restaurant for private events.