By Veronica Sandate Craker
Just because the hustle and bustle of back-to-school shopping has winded down doesn’t mean business is slow for Teacher’s World owner Christina Viera.
Viera said the many of the school district’s purchase orders aren’t approved until after school starts.
“So that’s when (teachers) have the actual money from the district. So right now most of them are spending their own money,” she said.
Teacher’s World at 101 N. Union St. #112 in Kennewick opened for business in December.
The business sells supplies for classrooms including arts and crafts, games, children’s books, classroom furnishings, decorations and incentives and awards.
Viera decided to open the store with her husband, Mario Viera, after Fun 2 Learn, another teacher’s supply store, closed.
“I managed it for eight years,” Viera said. “I pretty much did everything at the other store. I paid the bills. I did the taxes. I pretty much ran everything.”
Despite her experience, Viera admits there have been hardships in opening her own business.
The difference is starting from nothing,” she said. “Literally, this place was a box. You know it was four walls. That was it. So I think that part was different.”
The couple had planned on opening their business in the fall of 2011, but because of permit issues they had to push back the opening date. Still, Viera said she’s happy with the outcome and has managed to stay busy throughout the summer months. She credits the fact that her store is one-of-a-kind in Eastern Washington.
She’s seen visitors come from all of Central and Eastern Washington and has even received requests to open a store in Spokane.
“I’ve had (customers) from Coeur d’Alene, Deer Park, Wenatchee, all through there and down to Baker City and Wallowa,” she said. “It’s a pretty big range we’ve had because there’s nothing.”
The majority of her business comes from public and private school teachers, but she does see many homeschool teachers making their way through her store.
“There’s two (homeschool) programs — one through the Kennewick School District and one through the Richland School District, so they give (teachers) funding for homeschooling, but (teachers) have to go by their guidelines,” Viera said.
And as the school year guts underway, Viera keeps business steady by selling educational toys that can be used outside the classroom.
“Everything I get, I try to have it be educational or I try to look for old school toys. A lot of the wood products, just stuff that kids are playing with and they don’t even realize they’re learning,” Viera said. “It’s not just a coloring book, it’s not just a puzzle. It’s more educational.”
Her products can be applicable to children from birth and up.
“I also have stuff for special needs (students) too,” Viera said. “Whether it be for a speech issue all the way to severely autistic and fidgets.”
Viera and her husband are the store’s only employees, but she often gets help from her mother.
And she’ll continue to stay busy because once the back-to-school crowd dies down, she’ll be preparing for the Christmas rush.
Teacher’s World is open from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday.
For more information on Teachers World visit their website at www.teachers-world.com.