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About The Learning Palace Incorporated

Our public school systems are facing a gap in their curriculum; theyre missing rigorous grammatical and phonics programs. Phonics is no longer being taught in isolation which makes it harder to assess each students learning needs. The Learning Palace has written 4 books that focus on phonics, grammar, and accent. Help me give public school programs private school quality by investing in my grammar and phonics program.

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Learning Palace closes; says ‘shop local’ didn’t save it from Amazon

Nov 22, 2016

tweet A lot has changed since Norma and Norman Faris started their chain of educational supply stores, Learning Palace, at Southeast Portland’s Eastport Plaza in 1982. Now, customers will walk into a store, find an item they want, search for it on their phone, buy it online and walk out, says Mike Faris, who helps run the family business. “How do we compete with that?” he asked. “It’s impossible.” The Faris family announced in October that they would be closing their stores as more customers get their school supplies online. At its height, the family operated seven stores from Vancouver to Eugene, serving teachers, parents and homeschool instructors. Now, only the Clackamas store remains, as the family sells out its remaining inventory. Faris said the store will likely close on Sunday, Nov. 27, after offering deep discounts during its last few days. The company got its start when Norma Faris, mother of four, grew frustrated with the lack of educational supplies for her kids. So she approached her husband, a car wash manager, about opening a store of their own. Norman Faris had long dreamt of running his own business, and didn’t need much convincing. The couple put all their savings into the store, and without a background in teaching or formal business education, they grew it into a local chain. The company has always been a family affair, Mike Faris said. When his father passed away in 2005, Norma and the kids continued to run it. Over the last couple years, it became increasingly clear that the Learning Palace – even with products for sale on its site – couldn’t compete with the discounts and fast, cheap shipping offered by the likes of Amazon. “We just keep seeing that trend of consumers going online,” Mike Faris said. Faris worried that in a few years, the stores would have fewer and fewer customers, as younger shoppers headed online first. The push to shop local helped Learning Palace, he said, but it wasn’t enough. Faris said his family is grateful for the support throughout the years, and for the outpouring of support now. He’s not sure what he and his siblings will do after the store closes. “I don’t know what’s next,” he said. “Everyone’s probably going to take on a new adventure.” — Anna Marum

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