Friday, June 19, 2015

The Golden Apple closed on March 28th, 2015.  We had been a mostly thriving business for 36 years.  The easy answer is Amazon killed us.  That's a part of it, but there's much more that goes in to destroying independent businesses.

The most important thing to remember is that most small businesses are a dream made real.  They reflect the personality and aspirations of the owner.  They have all the personality facets that humans have.  A good small business owner works hard to keep the good parts of their personality facing the public and the bad parts hidden.  They need people to like them.  Shoppers have become so used to corporate and franchise operations that they don't understand that when they enter an independent store, they are coming face to face with a human.  A small business has feelings and a pulse.

Dealing with other humans is messy.  It often involves empathy, and empathy isn't something everyone has.  There almost seems to be less of it in the world every day.  To buy from a small business; to maybe spend more than you might have; to interact with a human to complete the purchase; all require a calculation and an expenditure of empathy.  A purchase at a small business means another human (or several humans) will have money to pay for the things they need.  They help us, we help them.

The internet lets us avoid that interaction.  There isn't anyone at the other end of that fiber optic cable.  There is just the thing we want.

I loved interacting with my customers.  The world needs that interaction.  We'll need to find a new way to make it happen.  But small businesses can't wait.  They are human and have a pulse, and they are dying.

Friday, February 20, 2015

We've started collecting ideas for a Holi festival at the store - we have lots of powdered tempera, and a color fight could make for some beautiful fun!  What are your ideas?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Frozen Day at the Golden Apple!

Monday, February 17, 2014

It's not easy being an independent retail store these days.  In the last 8 years, 80% of the School Supply stores in the US have closed.  Golden Apple is one of only 2 stores left in all of Northern California.  If we're to stay open for our 3rd generation of customers we need your help - for a start, here are 5 simple things that would be a big help to us:

  1. Let parents know we have a laminator - teachers know this, but parents don't.  We charge about 1/5 as much as Kinkos, and parents love having "masterpieces" laminated.
  2. We have the best flashcards - the ones that really reinforce memorization and understanding.
  3. Science Display Boards - the kids need them, we have them, and so many parents find our store just to buy this item.  When Science Fair time comes around,  let parents know we're here.
  4. Summer Workbooks.  Parents know they need something to help their kids during the summer. Remind them the Golden Apple has exactly what they need.
  5. Before you assign a specific book, or a reading strip, or a pencil grip - send us an email and we'll make sure we have enough in stock - and make sure your students get the right item!
Thanks for your support - we really do appreciate it!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We Beat Toys R Us!

In a development that has shocked the retail world, The Golden Apple Learning Store has announced they will be opening a full 36 hours before ToysRUs during the critical shopping season this year.  Store owner John MacDougall is certain that by opening at 10 am on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, he can get a jump on the big box stores.  "We always open at 10 am - and this way, people can shop and enjoy Thanksgiving with their families".   By being open from 10 am to 5 pm on the day before Thanksgiving, and the day after, MacDougall feels he can be closed on the actual holiday without anyone missing out.  "There's plenty of time to shop, Thanksgiving is a holiday, so we're closed.  Why would any store be open?"
The Golden Apple is open on Wednesday from 10 to 5, we'll be CLOSED on Thanksgiving, and we'll be open again on Friday!  Enjoy your day!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

We had a great day today - it was Neighborhood Toy Store Day - an annual event!  Thanks to the families that came out to support us - we appreciate it!

Friday, November 1, 2013

A few years ago we wrote about Toys for Makers.  We started looking for toys that inspired kids to explore, to construct and deconstruct.  Many toys, and most video games tend to celebrate someone else's creativity.  They allow you to immerse yourself in a toy or game that may have play value, but doesn't encourage any creative input.  Kids need to explore their creativity, and we need to find them toys that let that happen.  We're updating our Toys for Makers section of our online catalog with some of our latest finds.  We'll also be using this space to introduce you to some of the best.  Today's toy is for the youngest Makers.  It's not just for building, it's for observing and critical thinking.  The toy is called Bunny Peek a Boo , but don't let the cute name fool you.  BPB is a challenge for 2 year olds, and we've been dragooning every little customer we see into playing (2 year olds are very enthusiastic game players!)  They understand the challenge and love solving the "puzzle", then flipping the card to see what's next.