November, 2007

Nov 07

The Guadalajara Book Fair

Life is good and the people are great. This is our fifth year exhibiting at Latin America’s largest book fair. Always well attended by professionals and the public alike.

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Sheila and Rogelio Terán of Exedra Books, in Panama [top left]. Excitement, music, publishers and people at the Guadalajara FIL.

Nov 07

San Antonio – People Who Make a Difference

I wasn’t looking forward to Tuesday morning! Behind the wheel of a rental car, I tried my best to maneuver myself through the freeways of San Antonio.

But the entire day was wonderful. The best thing about meeting with educational retailers and publishers is that everyone is as excited about helping kids as I am. I’m going to take you on a tour here, of the places and people I visited. I’ll include links to their websites so that you can have a close look at everything too. Isn’t the internet great?

My first meeting of the morning was with Leslie Boulet of PCI. PCI is an amazing place. In 1991, co-founders Janie Haugen-McLane and Jeff McLane had a vision of helping challenged children and adults become successful in life. They did this by publishing special education materials. Not only has this company become hugely successful with a staff of eighty, they also have a program, in-house, where they teach challenged adults to help out in the stock room. Leslie Boulet, who presently organizes the product for all of PCI’s catalogs was kind enough to take me on a tour.

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Leslie Boulet and the outside of PCI.

Next stop of the day was to the NES headquarters where I met with Joe Atkinson and Omar Cavacos in sales, and office manager Sylvia Cantu. NES is very well known in the state of Texas for its bilingual and Head Start programs which are thoughtfully assembled for school districts. The company was founded over a decade ago by Professor Lupe Garza.

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Sylvia Cantu and the outside of NES.

The Learning Zone is always a neat place to visit. Learning Zone has now expanded to include three stores in the San Antonio area. The most recent acquisition, The Education Shop, has kept its own name. I met with store manager Amanda Rendon who has such an incredible memory that she remembered everything about our last visit over two years ago. It’s easy to see that Learning Zone is a popular place. During my visit the place was hopping with teachers, coming in to pick up school supplies.

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Amanda Rendon and the outside of Learning Zone.

Last stop of the day was the beautiful SchooLocker where I met with Marlene Ehrsam. I was admiring the ceiling, which is “pillow insulation” painted blue to represent the sky, when Marlene told me that her sister, an architect before joining SchooLocker, had played a major part in the construction of the building. SchooLocker was founded by Marlene’s parents who own Guerra Publishing, a publishing company of educational resources teaching Spanish.

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Marlene Ehrsam and inside SchooLocker.