By Annie Peroutka
Jenn Powell has a passion for education, having been a teacher for 12 years. Several years ago, after moving to the Manassas area, she noticed a need for a new kind of store and immediately thought of how she could turn her dream into a reality.
“We moved here from North Carolina in 2017, where I was an elementary school teacher. We had a great educational supply store there that we would visit often,” remembers Powell. “When I searched here, there was nothing like the previous store unless I wanted to drive two hours in traffic. I came home and told my husband how frustrated I was, and he said, ‘Now that’s a business we should start.’”
And the idea of Teachables was born. After four years of hard work, partially amid a pandemic, Jenn and Steve Powell opened their educational supply store this past August with a celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony. Located at 10302 Bristow Center Drive, Teachables is the newest business in the lively Bristow Center Shopping Center, just steps away from Duck Donuts and AR Workshop.
“We love Bristow and Gainesville. It’s less of the hustle and bustle, but still a very engaging and family community,” says Jenn.
The challenging times also inspired Teachables and its Bristow locale. “We live and work in the area, and we saw how parents and teachers were struggling with virtual learning and keeping kids engaged,” shares Jenn, who is the mother of three children. “Other stores may have a few items at the beginning of the school year, but we will have it all the time. As education evolves, we will too.”
Teachables specializes in classroom décor, math and reading manipulatives, books, workbooks, educational toys, posters, puppets, fidget items, backpacks, stationary supplies, and so much more. Jenn adds that they sell “anything to engage the mind and make learning a little more fun.” Teachables has plans to branch out with laminating services as well.
The Teachables store is colorfully lined with unique and interesting merchandise, making the buying experience much more hands-on and engaging. Jenn says, “The best lessons try to use all of the senses. Engage the senses and you engage the mind. At Teachables, we try our best to sell items that help learners connect the dots in education. Keep it fun, keep it interesting, let learning be loved.”
Both Jenn and her husband, Steve, are prior US military, having proudly served in the Air Force. Now the couple are excited to embark on this new chapter in their lives, even though they were initially nervous to start something at a time when so many other small businesses are struggling.
While teachers receive a 10% discount on Tuesdays, Jenn is quick to point out that the store is not just for teachers. “We specialize in the needs of many different types of education, whether it is a particular subject, homeschooling, special needs, infancy throughout. Teachables is for everyone!”
Teachables has a variety of special events, such as book readings, puppet shows, and fundraising opportunities, all in a welcoming environment. The store recently hosted a bedtime stories event for children of all ages, where kids were invited to wear their PJs, bring their favorite stuffy, eat popcorn, all while listening to fun stories.
Teachables is open Mondays through Fridays from 10am-6pm and Saturdays from 10am-4pm. The store is closed on Sundays. Follow the business on Facebook at Teachables or visit the website at www.teachablesnova.com.