Learning Express Toys

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Learning Express Toys
  • Learning Express Toys (2005-Present)
  • Learning Express (1987-2005)
Industry Retail
Founded Acton, MA, U.S.
(1987 (1987), as "Learning Express")
Founder Sharon DiMinico
Headquarters Devens, Massachusetts, United States
Number of locations
Area served
United States
Key people
  • Toys
  • Games
  • Books
Website learningexpress.com

Learning Express Toys, incorporated in 1987 as Learning Express, Inc., is a specialty toy, game and book retailer and franchisor headquartered in Devens, Massachusetts, United States.[1] The company franchises over 125 specialty toy stores in the United States, each locally owned and operated.[2][3][4] It also operates online at learningexpress.com.


Sharon DiMinico, chair of the Board of Directors and parent of two children at Groton Community School, proposed a business plan in 1987 for the school to open a specialty toy store in order to prevent tuition increases.[5][6] Later that spring, the school opened the first Learning Express in Acton, Massachusetts,[7] and, six months later, Sharon opened the first store owned by Learning Express, Inc. in Needham, Massachusetts.[8] Inspired by an article about franchising in Inc. Magazine,[9] Sharon licensed the company's first franchise location in Andover, Massachusetts in 1990.[10]


Typical Learning Express Toys storefront

Most Learning Express Toys locations are in strip centers, regional malls, lifestyle centers, and town centers. They range in size from around 1,200 square feet to 4,000 square feet, though 2,500 square feet is a typical size.[11][12][13]


Since 1999, Learning Express Toys has produced an annual convention for its store owners, vendors, and other members of the toy industry. The event is held in various locations in the United States. The final evening is generally reserved for an Awards Banquet, where members of the community give and receive honors for their contributions to the Learning Express Toys community. Notable vendor awards include "Vendor of the Year" and "Toy of the Year." [14][15][16][17][18]


Learning Express Toys produces several print catalogs each year and two during the critical toy industry holiday season during November and December. The holiday catalog is distributed to customers nationwide. Individual store owners use the catalog as a guide for toy purchases throughout the year.[19]


  1. ^ Hoover's - "Learning Express, Inc. | Company Information"
  2. ^ "Our Story" - Learning Express Toys website
  3. ^ Control Scan Case Study - "Learning Express Helps Franchisees Brace for Increasingly Aggressive Hackers" - 2011
  4. ^ "Learning Express Toys Franchise Information" - International Franchise Organization (IFA)
  5. ^ Chain Store Age - "Product Mix Gives Edge to Learning Express" - April 13, 2011
  6. ^ Norman, Jan. "28: Communication is king." What no one ever tells you about franchising: real-life franchising advice from 101 successful franchisors and franchisees. Chicago, IL: Kaplan Pub., 2006. 49-50. Print.
  7. ^ Groton Community School Website
  8. ^ Worcester Business Journal Online - "Learning Express Thrives Alongside Big Box Stores" - November 14, 2012
  9. ^ Retail Merchandiser - "Learning Express" - 2011
  10. ^ "Learning Express Franchise" - Entrepreneur
  11. ^ "Learning Express moves to bigger, brighter store" - The Columbia County News-Times
  12. ^ "Retailers making learning fun for more San Antonio kids" - San Antonio Business Journal
  13. ^ "Learning Express reopens in Northern Kentucky" - Cincinnati Business Courier
  14. ^ "Rea Road toy store owner recognized at company’s national convention" - South Charlotte Weekly - Page 8 - July 16–22, 2010
  15. ^ "Learning Express Recognizes Toy Vendors at Annual Convention" - Berkshire Partners - Melissa & Doug - In the News
  16. ^ "Toysmith Named Vendor of the Year and Receives Five other Prestigious Awards" - Toysmith
  17. ^ "The Orb Factory Receives "The Industry Leader Award" from Learning Express" - PRWeb
  18. ^ "Awards / About Us" - Curiosity Kits
  19. ^ Toy Directory Monthly - "Learning Express CEO Knows Specialty Retail" - February 2006

External links[edit]