Education possesses the power to change a life. It enhances our knowledge of the world around us, while empowering us to make that world a better place. Businesses such as Vernon Teach & Learn play a vital supporting role in this process.
Filling a Gap in the Market
The business was founded in 1990 by Mavis Jackson and her daughter, Lynella Henke. Back then, Mavis was working as a teacher and found herself frustrated at the lack of stores dedicated to selling resources for the classroom. The duo founded Vernon Teach & Learn to fill this gap, providing valuable classroom aids and educational toys to clients across the Okanagan. Almost 30 years later, the business continues to go from strength to strength, broadening their product range and delivering the helpful customer service they’ve always been known for.
“My mother founded the business due to her own frustrations. She was prevented from doing her job by a lack of resources and felt she could do better,” Lynella said.
“My husband and I purchased the business from my parents 15 years ago and we’ve continued to listen to our customers for ideas on products and services they’d like to see us offer.
“Right now, we could be described as a retail store that supplies educational games and toys. We also host birthday parties and even have an ice cream shop on-site.”
Lynella and Trevor’s business has become a Vernon staple from its position at 3015 – 30th Ave. Customer service is top priority for this dynamic duo, with a real sense of community developing around their Facebook profile. In an era of digital metrics and online campaigns, it shows the value of good old-fashioned community building for a business.
“Trevor and I strongly believe in running our business with 100% honesty,” explained Lynella.
“It’s about providing the level of service to our customers that we would like to receive ourselves. Putting a smile on those faces is one of the most amazing parts of being an entrepreneur. When our community gave back to us by nominating us for a Small Business BC Award it encouraged us to put more into our business, reach for the stars and not give up.”
Lessons to Takeaway
With awards such as “2012 Small Business of the Year” from the Vernon Chamber and “2017 Company of the Year (Finalist) at the Small Business BC Awards, the success of Vernon Teach & Learn is plain for all to see. So, what advice would Lynella impart to the next generation of entrepreneurs:
“The biggest thing to remember about the life of an entrepreneur is that it’s not 9-5, Monday to Friday. You can book a day off whenever you want, sure. But if someone on your team is sick you have to drop everything and pick up the slack.
“Make sure you know your product and customer better than anyone. Be prepared to invest a lot of time and hard work. If you do, your business will go far.”