This year was no different from the rest—travel woes ensued when franchisees from across the country made their way to New York during the cold, snowy month of February. The weather never deters a Learning Express Toys franchisee, though, and store owners gathered from near (the Upper East Side) and far (California) to attend the 112th annual International Toy Fair at the Javits Center. One of the highlights of the year, Toy Fair offered store owners the opportunity to participate in training sessions, search for new products, meet with vendors, and connect with one another.
This year, the four-day expo featured more than 1,000 toy vendors that showcased more than 150,000 products. The Learning Express Toys corporate buyers walked the aisles of Toy Fair along with our store owners and managers, meeting with vendors and searching out the next great toy trends. It was a highly successful weekend for all who attended. A few of the highlights of the weekend are detailed below.
First Year Training
Our newest operators in their first year of store ownership came together prior to the expo for a full day of training. The informative session was led by experts from the corporate headquarters who covered a wide variety of topics in the areas of marketing, buying, finance, point of sales, and staff management. Richard Gibson, owner of Learning Express Toys of Newton, MA, also attended the session to share his perspective and offer helpful tips based on his 23 years of experience.
Share the Fair
Franchisees shared some of their favorite finds from the show during a Share the Fair lunch in the Learning Express Toys hospitality suite at Javits Center. Each store brought samples of products they found particularly promising to share with the entire group. This special lunch generated helpful discussions about the potential of these new products and ensured that no toys were overlooked. The Learning Express Toys corporate buyers took note of each item presented throughout the lunch and will be contacting vendors to discuss partnership possibilities.
Learning Express Toys Banquet
The entire Learning Express Toys team attended an inspiring banquet at the Central Park Boathouse to celebrate the franchise’s success. Founder of LE Toys, Sharon DiMinico, spoke to the franchisees about the keys to success in the toy industry and gave a warm welcome to all of the new store owners experiencing their first year at Toy Fair. Sharon presented awards for 2014 in the categories of Top New Store Sales, Top Sales per Square Foot, Top Percentage Increase, and Top Sales overall.