ORLANDO, Florida – Every year, Learning Express Toys recognizes its outstanding franchisees with awards at the Convention Banquet. Through these awards, we hold up Learning Express Toys’ values of cultivating superb teams, selling excellent products, and creating a WOW experience for our customers. Store owners are chosen for:
Personal qualities, such as being a team player or always being willing to lend a hand
Professional excellence, such as identifying hot new products or turning a store’s sales around
Going above and beyond, such as making an impact on the entire Learning Express Toys family or the broader community through charitable giving programs.
We are incredibly proud to recognize the award winners for 2016:
Building on the Best Team, Product and WOW awards
Three special awards presented to store owners or vendors in honor of our convention theme of Building on the Best and our TPW (Team, Product, WOW) Strategy.
Building the Best Team – Erica Orient, Learning Express Toys of Wyomissing, PA
Building the Best Product: Exclusive Product – The Orb Factory
Building the Best WOW – Heidi Perino, Learning Express Toys of St. George, UT
Winning Team Award – Awarded to a region or group of stores that work together to make each other better, stronger, or more profitable, or for a store that has an amazing team.
Winners – Atlanta, GA Stores: Learning Express Toys of Atlanta-Buckhead, Toco Hills, Alpharetta, East Cobb and Woodstock, GA
Apprentice Award – Awarded to a new owner in the system who embodies the Learning Express Way.
Winner – Charlie Darrow, Learning Express Toys of Tulsa, OK
Helping Hand Award – Awarded to the store owner that goes out of his or her way to help others. They do so unselfishly, without looking for anything in return and truly embrace the idea of giving back.
Winner – Isaac Bendrao and Valerie Zafrany, Learning Express Toys of Aventura, FL
Sally Arpe Caring & Commitment Award – This award is presented in memory of store owner Sally Arpe, to the store owner who puts people before profits and understands the importance of establishing positive relationships with their community, their vendors, and their peers.
Winners – Connie & Todd Jacob, Learning Express Toys of New Albany, Upper Arlington and Worthington, OH
Trailblazer Award – Awarded to a store owner for introducing a new concept or category, making it successful and guiding other stores to do the same.
Winners – Diane, Dick & Amanda Bowser, Learning Express Toys of Denville and Morristown, NJ
Discovery Awards – Awarded to store owners who shared product or vendor discoveries through LEAP during the past year that became strong sellers across the country.
Colleen Hendon, Learning Express Toys of Roseville, CA
Charlie and Carol Morris, Learning Express Toys of Ft. Collins, CO
Hal and Kathryn Cook, Learning Express Toys of Dallas, TX
Kristin Janger and Shannon Fritz, Learning Express Toys of Town & Country and Cypress, TX
Steve Kessel, Regional Owner
Marketing Awards – Awarded to store owners who demonstrate both creativity and innovation in their marketing, social media, and in-store events.
Stefanie Dunlop, Learning Express Toys of Citrus Park and Clearwater, FL
Kelley Stevens, Learning Express Toys of Crestview Hills, KY
PR Award – Awarded to a store owner for promoting the Learning Express brand through PR efforts.
Winners – Kristin Janger and Shannon Fritz, Learning Express Toys of Town & Country and Cypress, TX
Overcoming the Odds Award – Awarded to a store owner that was able to conquer a challenge and win.
Winner – Erica Stupansky, Learning Express Toys of Strongsville, OH
180 Award – Awarded to a store owner of a purchased Learning Express Toys store that was able to increase performance.
Winner – Jane Ellis, Learning Express Toys of Franklin, MA
Ron Kerr Making a Difference Award – In memory of Ron Kerr, the previous owner of the Katy, TX store, this award was established to honor the contributions a store owner makes to their community.
Winners – Dee Senter & Paige Watson, Learning Express Toys of Irmo and Lexington, SC
Striving for Success Award – Awarded to a store owner that continuously reaches out to other store owners, the Home Office, and vendors in his or her constant quest for success.
Winner – Deb Tandy, Learning Express Toys of The Woodlands, TX
Impact Award – Awarded to a person making contributions to the Learning Express family that truly impact the company and the Learning Express brand.
Winner – Colleen Hendon, Learning Express Toys of Roseville, CA
People’s Choice Award – Awarded by store owners to an individual they think best represents the finest qualities of a Learning Express store owner.
Winner – Isaac Bendrao, Learning Express Toys of Aventura, FL
President’s Award – Awarded to a remarkable store team member who creates a WOW shopping experience and helps execute our vision. Nominations made by store owners.
Winner – Mark Kerr, Learning Express Toys of Mt. Lebanon, PA
Founder’s Award – Awarded by CEO and Founder Sharon DiMinico to the store owner that best represents Learning Express by being all of the other awards rolled into one. They are a team player, helping hand, have spirit, make an impact and are giving. They make a difference at Learning Express.
Winner – Steve Zdunek, Learning Express Toys of Naperville, IL
Congratulations, and a huge “thank you,” to all our amazing winners! Keep up the incredible work!