WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. Kenny Friedman, 54, and fellow staff at Educational Warehouse found themselves out of jobs when the Westchester Pavilion store lost its lease last March. However, the loyalty of Friedmans White Plains customers stuck with him when he scanned the local landscape for a vacant storefront.
I decided to open my own store, said Friedman, a Fort Lee, N.J. resident. He said he asked two school officials if they would continue doing business with him if he opened up a store in Port Chester. They said, If you opened up a store it would be wonderful. And I kept that in mind, he added.
Friedman settled on 180 E. Post Road after noting his following in White Plains and the void left by the only educational supply stores closing. He brought on three former coworkers from the Educational Warehouse for his first entrepreneurial endeavor. Although his store, Straight As, opened just after back-to-school season, his team said it hopes to hit the holiday season hard with Tupperware party-inspired school supply expos.
We want to be a neighborhood store and support all the local schools and PTAs, said Friedman. Well bring samples for the schools to have. We dont have a flat teachers discount, but were going to have a rewards program and send discounts to our email subscribers.
Friedman, who is licensed as a teacher and has worked as a substitute teacher before going into business, spent six years at an educational toy chain and then learned the teacher side of things at Educational Warehouse.
Finding retail space that directly borders a parking lot proved difficult, so Friedman said he settled on the E. Post Road shop because it was near a municipal parking lot and he felt optimistic about the citys ongoing negotiations with the Esplanade to open the closed Waller Avenue and Lyon Place garage.
From now through December were offering a promotion where if you bring in your parking ticket well take it off of a purchase of $15 or more, said Friedman. Ive hired a high school student to take packages out to cars and may do that during the holiday seasons. Im happy to do deliveries to schools or daycare facilities, whatever it takes.
Straight As has begun hosting its weekly kids craft sessions from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays, though the store wont celebrate its official opening until Dec. 3.
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