With the closure of the Learning Express store along Randall Road in Algonquin this summer, some have been worried that the store's counterpart in Geneva would close too -- leaving them without a spot to buy popular items like the Rainbow Loom, Calico Critters and Smencils.
But owners John and Sarah Flanagan -- who ran both locations -- say the opposite is true.
Since the Algonquin store has closed, they say, they are adding even more items and more fun to their store in Geneva Commons along Randall Road.
"We're not going anywhere," John Flanagan said. "We're here and we'll have more."
The Algonquin store opened in 2008 along Randall, just south of Algonquin Road, on the west side of Randall. The Flanagans had a five-year lease on the spot, and at that time it was their only Learning Express location.
Then, they decided to purchase the Geneva store in 2010, saying they live in the area and loved the location in Geneva Commons.
"When our lease was up in Algonquin this year, we decided to close it because we just didn't see the sales up that way that we do down here (in Geneva)," John Flanagan said. "We decided to close that down so we can focus on this store."
Now that they have just the one store, they are putting all of their attention into it, and making it even better, Flanagan said.
This fall, the Learning Express in Geneva will be offering many more in-store events, something the store got away from when the Flanagans had to split their time between the two stores.
For example, they will be doing Rainbow Loom classes, demonstrating new and fun patterns for the popular bracelet-making kit.
They also will be having more in-store play dates and other events now that school is back in session, he added.
The store also will be holding different craft days, a Star Wars reading day, and hopefully bringing in some local authors, Flanagan said.
"Those are things that we did, but got away from because, honestly, we couldn't focus on them with the two stores. It was too difficult," he said.
"We are going to make it the store we want it to be," he said.
Since they've closed the other store, Flanagan said he's seen some of his Algonquin customers stopping into the Geneva store, and he believes they'll continue to make the drive to Geneva because many of the big box stores don't have all of the unique items Learning Express has, he said.
Flanagan said Learning Express in Geneva will continue to carry those items, and bring in new, popular and educational toys for customers.
"We're excited to be able to focus on this store and come up with lots of little events and hopefully quite a few other things that will keep people happy," he said.
Amy Williams' column covers all the news of business along the Randall Road corridor from Batavia to Crystal Lake. Contact her at email@example.com or (847) 894-5036.