When New Yorker Jhonn de La Puente realized that many high school students aren’t allowed to bring their personal cell phones to school, he hit upon a simple yet brilliant business model – a cell phone storage van.
The 42-year-old now runs a company called ‘Safe ‘n’ Secure Cellutions LLC’ – it consists of a modified Ford E250 parked outside Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights High School complex, which houses four different public high schools. Right before they enter school, students queue up outside the van to deposit their phones through a small mail-slot on the side. They are handed colored tickets that they can use to retrieve the phones as they leave school at the end of the day. The service costs them anywhere between $3 and $5 per week.
Puente, a Crown Heights resident, has put a lot of thought and effort into creating the van – he said that he designed and customised it himself, adding security cameras, storage racks and a cash lock box. “I even did research on the average height of high school students to get a median height to put this window at,” he revealed. “It was really important to me that it was the right level so they could see my face and so that I could interact with the customers.”