Teacher stores sell supplies targeted to teachers, such as classroom decorations and grade books. Starting a teacher supply store is much like starting any other business. You must begin with a good business plan, reasonable budget and a prime location, but there are additional considerations for a teacher supply store that do not apply to other businesses. For example, your store should be close to a school or in a high-traffic area. You also must find a wholesaler who can keep up with emerging trends. With proper planning and dedication, anyone can begin a teacher store.
Find a location for your teacher supply store. There are two types of locations where you will find the most success: near a school, campus or training facility or in a high-traffic area, such as a mall. When you are close to schools, campuses or training facilities, teachers can stop in to pick up items. In a high traffic location, such as a mall, business will be more consistent, but your customers may not all be teachers. Visit several locations before deciding the best place that will help you attract your target audience.
Apply for the correct business licenses and permits for the store. A visit to the county clerk’s office will ensure you have everything necessary to operate your store legally. While you are in the office, ask how you need to display the permits and licenses in the store.
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Create a budget for your store. Your overhead for a teacher store includes rent, decorations, display racks, utilities, payroll, security and products. Expect to spend $50,000 to $100,000 to start a teacher store. When your budget is finalized, you can secure financing through a bank loan or from family and friends.
Write a business plan. This plan should include the kind of teacher you want to target. It should also cover a description of your business, kind of products offered and budget.
Find a wholesaler from which you can purchase your products. The wholesaler should be trustworthy and supply a quality product. Make sure you can get both the basics, such as paper, pencils and pens, as well as trendy items, such as gel pens or novelty pens. Finding the trendy stationery supplies for the year is a challenge unique to teacher stores. These trends will change seasonally, so be sure the wholesaler can keep up with the shifting demand. Consider looking for a supplier who can also provide you with backpacks, computers or school books should you decide to expand your business.
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Give your business a creative name that reflects the products you sell. Make the name as memorable and unique as you can while keeping true to your teacher supply products.
Advertise your store. Print and hand out flyers. Talk to the local teachers’ union or association and ask schools if you can drop off posters. Start a website to further advertise your business online.