Every year, Learning Express Toys hosts a franchise-wide Convention in a major US city. This year, the entire Learning Express Toys family, including store owners, store managers, home office employees, and vendors, gathered at La Quinta Resort and Spa in Palm Springs, CA.
It was an eventful four days in which store owners placed orders for holiday products at the vendor expo, attended workshops and training sessions to improve and grow their businesses, and bonded with peers and old friends.
The Convention began with full-day meetings and presentations for two separate groups of store owners. The Franchise Advisory Committee (FAC), made up of store owner representatives, gathered to discuss platforms, strategies, and systems that will help improve and grow the franchise as a whole. Meanwhile, store owners in their first year of business attended a comprehensive training session covering all areas of the business including PR, marketing, staff training, point of sales, and inventory management. Both meetings consisted of lively discussions and valuable information.
The second day kicked off with an opening session, which included presentations from the buying, marketing, and support teams, the FAC, and Sharon DiMinico, LE Toys CEO. Audra Wilford, whose son Max was diagnosed with cancer, was a special guest speaker; she discussed ways in which Learning Express Toys will join the MaxLove Project in raising money to help kids battling cancer.
After lunch, franchisees split into smaller groups and attended a variety of workshops, group sharing sessions, and roundtable discussions. This busy second day ended with Power Play, a light-hearted and instructive activity. Vendors set up their games, arts and crafts, and activity kits as store owners visited each table in a round-robin fashion learning and experimenting with the products.
The last two days of the convention consisted of a vendor expo at which more than 100 vendors were represented. Store owners and managers traveled from booth to booth discovering new product, speaking with vendors, playing with toys, and placing orders in preparation for the 2014 holiday season.
At the completion of the expo, toys were collected as vendors dismantled their displays and booths. These toys and games were donated to three local nonprofit organizations that help children: Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center, Shelter from the Storm, and Olive Crest.
In celebration of yet another successful convention and business year, franchisees, vendors, and home office staff gathered for an awards ceremony and banquet. Several store owners and home office employees took turns presenting awards to dear friends and partners as more than 35 individual awards were presented to both vendors and franchisees.