| Like many great enterprises, Lakeshore started with one person taking a chance. In this case, it was Ethelyn Kaplan, a single mother who decided to pack up her family and head west to California to open a toy store back in 1954. The move was a bit unconventional for a woman in 1950s America, but then again, entrepreneurs don’t typically follow the status quo. Initially, Mrs. Kaplan focused on selling toys to parents, but before long, local schools started calling her for art materials and other classroom supplies. Mrs. Kaplan listened to her customers. Sensing an untapped market, she sold the store and started Lakeshore Learning Materials.|
See how we’ve grown!
Eventually, Mrs. Kaplan’s sons, Charles and Michael, joined the business—expanding operations and turning Lakeshore into a million-dollar company within just a few years. When Mrs. Kaplan retired in 1971, Michael assumed the duties of President and CEO, while Charles became the Vice President in charge of merchandise and buying. Today, Michael’s sons, Bo and Josh, are an integral part of the business—having worked their way up from summer jobs in the warehouse. Bo is now President and CEO, and Josh is Executive Vice President. While Charles is now officially retired, Michael still serves as Chairman of the Board.