ST. GEORGE – Learning Express of Utah located at 20 N. Main Street in St. George is a locally owned and operated establishment.
Owner Heidi Perino, who was an elementary school teacher for 16 years, moved to Southern Utah with her husband, Lloyd, in March of 2011. The couple wanted to do something different so they created a “play and learn” store for children.
“Kids don’t get to be kids for very long anymore so I wanted to open a store where they could come, play and learn,” Perino said.
The store opened Dec. 1 of last year and has grown since its opening. The owners offer events and specials each month to encourage children to read and write rather than play video games, Perino said.
For example, the “birthday bucket” feature was created to help parents and grandparents purchase things from Learning Express that their child or grandchild are interested in. The child can create his or her own “birthday bucket” in the store or online by choosing items from the store that he or she is interested in, then the parents and grandparents can purchase things from the “birthday bucket” at a 20 percent discount. Learning Express employees will then complimentary wrap the items for the child to pick up at the store or the gift can be mailed to the child’s home.
“I love toys that have a learning purpose rather than just a playing purpose,” Perino said.
“Curious George” will be in the store tomorrow, Feb. 24, to help kick off the Public Broadcasting System writing contest that is taking place through the month of March. Children from Kindergarten through third grade can submit a writing sample in the store during the month of March. A local winner from each age group will be chosen and awarded with a $50 gift certificate from Learning Express. All submissions will be sent to PBS by April 1 and a national winner will be chosen.
The first 100 writing contest submissions will be given a writing notebook and a free Scholastic reading book.
Beginning this Sunday the store will be open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
“We have a well-rounded staff of all ages ready to help customers find the perfect gift,” Perino said.
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Copyright 2012 St. George News.