The Store of the Month for this month is (drumroll!) Launching Success Learning Store in Bellingham, Washington! This store was nominated by our sales manager Xavier for their contagious enthusiasm for our games.
In my chat with Jen, the co-store owner, I learned that Launching Success Learning Store was originally started 13 years ago by Sandy and Bob Hiorns, and Barbara and Dan Sanford, a group of retired educators who noticed that there were no stores that sold teaching supplies in their area. They started the store to provide supplies to educators. Two years ago they passed store ownership onto their employees Jen and Kristen. Both have been working excellently in advancing the store to new and great heights.
In 2006, the store upgraded to a 5,600 square foot space. This was a large jump for the small business. Jen mentioned that new time customers still come in with a look of surprise and awe at the sight of the stores size and selection. After this big move, the owners had the space to add a section for educational games. As developed in our previous blog post, “Identity Through Play,” children source of development and self-discovery is play. Jen and Kristen understand this and continue to make it the basis for all their games. Since its conception, Launching Success has become a store more dedicated to joining education with fun.
According to Jen, the most rewarding aspect of being a store owner is the help and encouragement she receives from the companies that support small local businesses. She’s thrilled to work with Blue Orange, and she enjoys sharing her enthusiasm for games with our sales representatives every time they visit. She remembers first seeing Blue Orange crew at a convention. She was most stricken by their enthusiasm for the Blue Orange Games and how that passion showed even through their end-of-the-day exhaustion. She was happy to share her own enthusiasm for the games and encourage them in that last part of the day. Since that day, Jen has been thrilled to meet with Xavier about each year’s upcoming games.
During our discussion of favorite games, Jen mentioned that she enjoys games that are quick to explain with rules flexible enough to allow for other variations. For this reason, she enjoys most of the tin games including Fast Flip and King’s Gold. She’s also thrilled with Dr. Eureka for its simple rule set. She adores the preschool and wooden games and found Froggie Boogie particularly lovable with its adorable story of baby frogs trying to avoid bedtime. “Every kid can relate to that,” she told me.
Jen advises that any future store owner be open to what is out there. She mentioned that she keeps in touch with what’s out there through the Good Toy Group. Besides being open to opportunities for new toys, Jen emphasized the importance of also “follow your gut.” Trends are tricky to catch so it’s important for a store owner to see everything that’s available. However, there’s also a level of intuition involved in choosing toys appropriate for a store.
Go visit Launching Success Learning Store yourself or check out their website. The Blue Orange Team is proud of Jen, Kristen, and all of their employees. Congratulations! Keep up your fantastic passion for games and fun!