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LEARNING EXPRESS INC.

76 Farmers Row

Groton, MA 01450

(508) 448-2333

DESCRIPTION: Educational toy stores

BUSINESS STARTED: 1987

NATIONAL FRANCHISE EXPANSION STARTED: 1995

NUMBER OF FRANCHISES: 59

TOTAL START-UP: $200K-255K (includes $30K franchise fee)

ROYALTY: 5%

SEEKING: Nationwide

You won't find Power Rangers poised for action or Disney dalmatians on the shelves at Learning Express. Instead, you'll see educational toys such as arts-and-crafts sets, role-playing games, construction kits and puzzles.

Sharon DiMinico, 51, started the company 10 years ago when she couldn't find interesting toys for her children. She began franchising in the Northeast in 1989; in 1995 the company took the stores national.

Learning Express is already making its mark in the toy industry. DiMinico credits the company's 1996 sales of $30 million to exciting merchandise, a strong franchisee support system and the active participation of each store owner. Says DiMinico, "The business will be only as good as the owner wants it to be."

--Lourdes Aguila

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This article was originally published in the March 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Net Rewards.

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