Learning Express Toys Celebrates Record Success at 2023 Annual Convention & Toy Expo

by The Bloom Report | 29 Jun 2023

Press Release

Learning Express Toys Celebrates Record Success at 2023 Annual Convention & Toy Expo


Devens, Mass., June 30, 2023 — The Learning Express Toys & Gifts Franchise hosted its annual Convention and Toy Expo in Schaumburg, IL earlier this week.  This year marked the 36th anniversary of the franchise, and 24th in-person Convention, and gave franchisees a chance to celebrate their community while getting a first look at upcoming products from nationwide vendors. The best vendors and products were presented with awards toward the end of the show. 


This year’s Convention featured plenty to celebrate as the franchise experienced record sales in recent years, welcoming both regular local shoppers and kids who discovered a new favorite store for the first time. Four new franchise locations opened since the 2022 Convention, with an additional three stores slated for opening in the remainder of 2023.


Heading into the second half of 2023, Learning Express Toys & Gifts will see the debut of a new Point of Sale system, saving time and adding convenience to both shoppers and employees, and has also adopted new marketing technologies to increase social media reach.


At the Convention’s conclusion, Learning Express Toys & Gifts vendors donated thousands of toys to Kidz Korna, a local non-profit charity located in Chicago, IL. (Photo above!)


The following product and vendor awards were presented during the 2023 Convention:

Product Awards

Awarded to products based upon originality, creativity, leading edge design and sales performance in each of the following categories:

  • ART - SKETCH PALS from Boogie Board
  • PLUSH – SQUISHMALLOWS from Kelly Toy
  • PRESCHOOL - MIX AND MATCH from Popular Playthings
  • SCIENCE – ULTRA BIONIC BLASTER from Thames and Kosmos
  • TRANSIT - SPACEBOT from Playvisions
  • TWEEN 7+ - MAVI – for innovative Tween products
  • TEEN 13+ - THE ORIGINAL BUDDHA BOARD from Buddha Board
  • BOOKS – SCRATCH AND SKETCH BOOKS from Peter Pauper Press
  • TODDLER - FUN TIME TRACTOR from Epoch Everlasting Play
  • DOLLS - LITTLE CUTIES from Madame Alexander
  • INFANT - DIMPL from Fat Brain
  • CONSTRUCTION - SMART MAX Learning Express Exclusive set from Smart Toys & Games


Toy of the Year


  • Winner – Squishmallows from KellyToy
  • Honorable Mention – DopeSlimes

Vendor Awards

Certificates acknowledging Direct Deal Program Vendors:

  • Tangle
  • Wireless Express
  • Salus Brands
  • iScream
  • DM Merchandising
  • All Sports Marketing
  • Play Visions


Best New Vendor Award – Awarded to a new vendor who quickly understood the uniqueness of the Learning Express franchise system, has been very supportive of individual storeowners, and whose product is innovative and performs well in our stores.

  • Winner – Kawaii

Best Marketing Program Award – Awarded to the vendor that has offered an exciting promotion that dramatically increased customer traffic while maintaining profitable store sales.

  • Winner – Schylling for the B2G1 Free NeeDoh Promotion
  • Honorable Mention – US Toys – Bunny Buffet Bucket Promotion

Sales Award – Awarded based on overall annual sales in Learning Express stores.

  • First Place – KellyToy
  • Second Place - DopeSlimes
  • Third Place – Lego


Sales Increase Award – Awarded based on overall annual sales increase in Learning Express stores.

  • First Place – DopeSlimes
  • Second Place – US Toys
  • Third Place – ACD Distribution

Vendor of the Year Award – Awarded to the vendor that provides outstanding customer service to stores, develops new and innovative products, offers ideas, supports all marketing efforts, provides excellent store support programs, and participates as a full partner with Learning  Express.

  1. Winner – KellyToy
  1. Honorable Mention –ACD

About Learning Express Toys

Learning Express Toys is the nation's leading franchisor of specialty toy stores with more than 80 locations across the country - each one locally owned and operated. Providing an extraordinary shopping experience, Learning Express Toys & Gifts is best known for its knowledgeable and playful sales staff and its unique product mix (birth – age 14). Believing that everyone who walks through the doors should be WOWED, Learning Express focuses on toys, gifts & experiences that celebrate life’s best moments.


A birthday gift registry, free gift wrapping, free personalization, civic fundraising and regularly scheduled children’s events contribute to the energetic atmosphere and exceptional customer service.      


For more information, interview requests, and media inquiries, please contact Meghan Thompson at Meghan@learningexpress.com or (978) 889-1083.


toy donation

Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!