How I Quit My Job and Opened a Toy Store

admin Owner Spotlight

Here’s How It Happened

“It was a complete accident, it was just something I fell into, that I thought would be fun. We took it from nothing to fantastic in such a short time. I’m always confident that I can rock whatever I set out to do, but some days I’m still amazed that it actually happened!” – Deb Tandy, owner, Learning Express Toys of The Woodlands, TX

“Having the nerve, at 40 years of age, to leave a successful corporate career, great paycheck and all the benefits to pursue the dream of owning my own business. Thankfully Malcolm was supportive and it became our business and it became Learning Express!!!” –Cindy O’Hara, owner, Learning Express Toys of Alpharetta, GA

 “The year was 1995 when a young couple from Needham, MA came to the Learning Express schoolhouse office to meet with Sharon and talk about their plans to go from being a customer to being store owners. Shelley Hobson was a marketing executive for Channel 4 in Boston (our NBC affiliate at that time) and Ed was the CFO of a large Boston company. With their two young boys, they decided to leave their well-established careers, and move their family to Wilmington, NC to open a Learning Express toy store.” –Shelley and Ed Hobson, owners, Wilmington, NC

“Wade was an Electrical Engineer and I worked in customer service/training at Xilinx, Inc. We were, by all accounts, workaholics. After our youngest child was born, we knew something wasn’t right and knew our lives were going to change. We made the decision to move to Reno so that we could be stay-at-home parents and focus all of our attention on our children. Our children taught us to love, understand and fully appreciate toys and their benefi­ts. They also helped us notice that something was missing in Reno – a specialty toy store!”  – Suzanne and Wade Peterson, Reno, NV

Learning Express Toys Cashier

These entrepreneurs come from very different backgrounds, but they had each reached a turning point in their lives and decided it was time to try something different.  They had energy, they had drive, and they had passion. They only lacked what Learning Express could provide: The support, tools and infrastructure to get their business up and running.

Now, they all have one incredible thing in common: the joy of owning a toy store.

How to Become a Toy Store Owner

Let’s chat. The first step to discovering whether owning a Learning Express Toys store is right for you is just filling out a quick form. We’ll follow up with a call from our franchise development department so we can introduce ourselves and get to know you.

Submit an application. Fill out our short-and-sweet franchise application to receive our franchise disclosure document, or FDD.  This contains the critical information about our franchisor/franchisee relationship, including our commitment to store support, information on franchise start-up costs, and ongoing fees.

Ask around. You’ll receive a phone number for each of our franchisees, and have the opportunity to talk to them first-hand about their experiences as part of the Learning Express Toys family.Inside a Learning Express Toys Store

Meet the team. Visit our office in Devens, Massachusetts for a Discovery Day – a full day of discussion with the Home Office staff who will help you open, run and optimize your business.

Submit a deposit. Once you provide a $5,000 refundable deposit, we’ll work with you to analyze your demographics, find a location, and negotiate a lease.

Sign the papers. You’ll sign the franchise agreement and lease at the same time, and we’ll start build-out. You’ll work with our Store Designer and Construction Coordinator to get your store ready in approximately 12 weeks.

Learn the business. No retail management experience is necessary. We provide a week of classroom training on all aspects of running your business at our Home Office, from marketing to inventory.

Ready the troops. A grand opening manager will be on-site at your location for three weeks before your opening to help train your new staff and receive mountains of toys from our best vendors. There’s no need to worry about which products to order at first – we have that covered.

Bring on the customers! We’ll guide you through every aspect of your Grand Opening weekend, including up-front marketing, staffing, scheduling events, and reporting. We’ll help introduce you into the community and welcome your new customers.

Call us anytime. A regional support partner will communicate with you regularly and schedule follow-up visits to help you keep your store running smoothly. Our Home Office team is available for marketing, technical and buying support and to provide a wealth of new ideas, products and practices. In addition, you’ll join our community of store owners and have access to advice and ideas from experienced pros. You’ll never be all on your own!

Joys of Owning a Toy Store

Our store owners say this is what keeps them going:

The Kids!  They keep you young, tuned in and energized! We love sharing their milestones and celebrating their birthdays.

The Parents!  They are keenly aware of how toys can improve their child’s skills and want knowledgeable staff to assist them in reaching their goals. We love it when a parent or teacher tells us how much our products have helped their kids.Girl with puppet

The Grandparents!  They want to be current and relate to their grandchildren. We love it when grandparents tell us how much their grandkids were THRILLED with their choices we helped them make.

Our Community!  The opportunities to give back to local schools and organizations is boundless. We feel so fortunate to be able to make a real difference in the community in which we raised our own children.

Take the Next Step

Find out whether owning a toy store is your next career move. Check out our franchise section and send us a note to receive more information. We’d love to hear from you.Girl on toy telephoneCall Jon Monahan at (800) 436-8697 to start the conversation.

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