Learning Express: Spreading the joy of play.

Franchises

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Learning is a way of living an enlightened life. However, if learning is not fun, it loses its effectiveness and becomes a hectic, emotionally draining, and monotonous process. This brings us to a very important question. Is there a way to make learning joyful?

Called Learning Express this Devens, Massachusetts-based specialty toy, game, and book retailer- is known for its innovative and world-class educational toys- that is fostering a love for learning through play. 

“With the right products, Learning Express Toys can match the needs and interests of any child.”

The start of a toy revolution 

In 1987 Sharon DiMinico, CEO & Founder and parent of two at Groton Community School proposed a business plan for the school to open a specialty toy store in order to supplement tuition. After giving it a thought, the school opened its first Learning Express store in Acton, Massachusetts, and, six months later, Sharon opened the first store owned by Learning Express, Inc. in Needham, Massachusetts. Since then, Learning Express has grown into a wide network of 92 stores across the US and has been successfully adding joy to learning for the last 33 years. “We are a ‘family’ of individually owned and operated specialty toy stores,” says Sharon.

On a mission to making life more playful, one toy at a time, Learning Express understands the profound effects healthy and constructive play can have on the development of a child. As these subtle developments in the early stages of life determine the course of a child’s life, Learning Express takes child’s play very seriously. Learning Express acknowledges every child is special and unique in its own way. With different requirements, every child needs a different level of knowledge, understanding, and guidance. With educational toys for age groups ranging from an infant to 12 years plus, Learning Express offers a wide range of products. Having collaborated with brands like Melissa and Doug, Toysmith, Lego, Epoch Everlasting, Schylling, Faber-Castell, Fat Brain Toys, the Horizon Group, Learning Resources, Think Fun, Thames & KIosmos, and hundreds more. Learning Express offers toys of exceptional quality and higher play value. “Our franchisees create a “WOW” experience for our customers through striking merchandise displays that stimulate a magical store atmosphere,” shares Sharon. In-store events, classes, and activities allow franchisees to interact with customers on a personal level while providing first-class customer service that will leave a lasting impression.” 

From action, skills, and sports, collectibles to stuffed animals and boredom busters, from arts and creativity to puzzles and brain teasers, Learning Express takes pride in providing unique toys that support learning joyfully and effectively. With a laser focus on providing a fun and friendly shopping environment, the staff at Learning Express is trained to provide expert advice on finding the most suitable toy. “Our stores are carefully designed to provide a hands-on environment where customers can experiment, play, and receive expert advice from well-trained staff members,” adds Sharon. “With the right products, Learning Express Toys can match the needs and interests of any child.” She continues,We strive to be an integral part of the communities where we are located. Participation in fundraising campaigns for schools and civic organizations as well as in-store events such as storytime, arts, and craft events and costume character visits make each of our stores a hub of activity and a cherished part of their community.” 

Learning Express further distinguishes itself from other toy retailers by offering unique and convenient services. “We believe that it’s the simple things that make the biggest impact,” says Sharon. “Our free gift-wrapping, gift registry, free personalization, in-store events, virtual events curbside pick-up, shipping and home delivery make shopping for the perfect toy an easy and enjoyable experience.”

Sharon DiMinico, Founder & CEO, Learning Express.
Sharon DiMinico, Founder & CEO, Learning Express.

“Some of our best ideas come from our franchisees, and they are always enthusiastic about sharing with us and their fellow store owners.”

Learning Express: Not just any other franchise

Learning Express started offering its franchise in 1990. With a vision of giving aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to do something meaningful for children of all types and learning abilities, Learning Express wanted to give them a chance to understand the franchise business model and use it to fulfill their dreams, achieve financial freedom, and be an integral part of their community. 

Through years of experience, Learning Express has built its own franchise system. The franchise model is designed to groom people for achieving success repeatedly on purpose and to deliver the wow experience which is the signature feature of Learning Express. Being an award-winning system, it is a unique combination of a proven business concept coupled with the entrepreneurial skills of its franchisees. To ensure its uniqueness of their service remains intact and is delivered consistently across all the outlets, Learning Express has some set criteria when selecting a franchise. 

The potential franchisee must be passionate with a positive attitude and eager to deliver the ultimate experience Learning Express is known for. They should possess an entrepreneurial mindset and needs to be goal-oriented and organized. The franchisee must also be a team builder with excellent team management and motivational skills.

When one becomes a franchisee with Learning Express, they gain access to vast business expertise, extensive support, services, and buying capacity which will heighten the chances of their success and profitability. The initial training which is mandatory for every franchise is conducted at the company’s state of the art headquarter in Devens Massachusetts. After the completion of the initial training, the franchisee receives support in buying, merchandising, marketing, advertising, staff training, inventory management, and finance. The franchise becomes entitled to two all-store meetings a year, multiple, regional zoom meetings, and communication through email, text, and phone calls. “Our mission is to provide the tools, marketing programs, and graphic design support to help our franchisees achieve their financial goals,” says Sharon.

Along with its robust leadership, the major reason behind Learning Express’s success is its team which shares the vision and works relentlessly towards taking it to its fruition. Working with a leader’s mindset, every Learning Express store and the corporate office, go out of the way to help a sister store come up the curve. From sharing product sales methodologies and photos of a new merchandising statement to a marketing event or a staff motivation technique, every team member thinks like a leader and does everything it takes to ensure every outlet runs successfully. Some of our best ideas come from our franchisees, and they are always enthusiastic about sharing with us and their fellow store owners,” expresses Sharon.  “We sincerely care for each other.”

Through Learning Express, the franchisees get a chance to be a part of the dynamic and growing educational toys industry. Far different from any other retail toy franchise, Learning Express offers a unique service packed with lots of experiences, infuses joy to learning, inspires lifelong learning, and enables children to smile and succeed through the power of play. As Learning Express franchisees, one often attends local events to interact with existing customers and make new connections. They participate in various fundraising campaigns for schools and local charities which allows them to give back and add value to their neighborhood

Learning Express is a unique blend of the excitement of being a business owner with the satisfaction of providing a socially significant service to your community,” sums up Sharon. 

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