It all started with one person taking a chance. In 1954, Ethelyn Kaplan, a single mother, defied the conventions of 1950s America—packing up her family and heading west to realize her dream of opening a toy store. After she set up shop in Northern California, educators soon began calling her for supplies, and Ethelyn discovered a higher purpose—serving teachers. Two generations later, Lakeshore still remains true to Ethelyn’s founding principles of listening to customers and meeting their needs.
Lakeshore has grown from that first brick-and-mortar store to a leading developer and retailer of top-quality educational materials for early childhood programs, elementary schools and homes nationwide. Today, we have a thriving e-commerce business, a national sales division, catalogs and 60 retail locations across the country, but we still consider ourselves “64 years young”—a company that experiences record growth year after year. We attribute that growth to the more than 2,000 people who make up our team. While 30% of our full-time employees have been with us for more than a decade, we’ve also been fortunate to attract lots of new talent—with all the fresh ideas and outside experience they bring to the table. The combined talents of our people allow us to reach for the stars—as we continue to experiment and try new things. In recent years, we have expanded our export market, opened offices in Asia and built a second distribution center in Midway, Kentucky—increasing our inventory and distribution space to more than 1.2 million square feet.
- Lakeshore Learning