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Before & After

Is Learning Express still strong, post-Beanie mania?

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This story appears in the November 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Some franchise systems aren't worth a sack of beans. Tired ideas, evaporating markets and bad franchisor management can work at odds with even the hardest working franchisee. Fortunately, that isn't the case with Learning Express. In fact, Learning Express franchisees have created quite a bit of sales from little sacks of beans, or, as they're more commonly known, Beanie Babies.

At first blush it's hard to see how Beanie Babies fit into a chain of toy stores that began franchising in 1987 with the idea of featuring educational toys. Educating children is a laudable goal, but, frankly, I can think of little educational value relating to a little critter made of beans. I suppose our tots have used these toys to learn about greed and covetous consumerism, and this education will admittedly help children blend into adult society. But the bottom line is that Beanies were good for retailing irrespective of the rationale used for stocking them.

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