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New store offers site for homeschoolers, crafters

by Patty Cheffey

Parents in need of help to homeschool their kids now have another resource available in Palmyra.

Tinker and Thinker, located at 318 S. Main, offers educational materials and other items, including education toys, for those who homeschool their children.

Pictured with Karen Bradley, owner of the new Tinker and Thinker store in downtown Palmyra are her children Connor, Michayla and Saoirse.

And, if you have homeschooled your children and they have now moved on, the business also offers a way to consign those items for purchase by others who are now homeschooling their children.

“The way it works is you can bring in your school items, and I’ll enter them in the computer. You can either price them yourself, or I’ll price them,” said Karen Bradley, owner of the business. “When an item sells, they get 70 percent and the store keeps 30 percent.”

Those consigning items must also sign a contract with the company based on those terms, she said.

While she does have one other current person consigning a lot of educational material, Bradley said 80 to 90 percent of the items in the store currently are material she used in homeschooling her own children.

“We do have a few items we’ve found or collected over the years too,” she added, noting she has several more boxes of items to enter into the computer before putting them out on display. “It takes a while to get everything ready to sell.”

The store is divided into two sections with the front room holding the educational materials the second room selling fiction books and a few games and toys.

Currently the store is open Wednesday through Saturday, but Bradley said she is hoping once it gets established to offer “community days” on Tuesdays.

“Something along the lines of meet a police officer or a fireman,” Bradley said.

In addition, Bradley plans to offer tutoring services, especially in math and literature.

“Hopefully other people can connect through the shop as well,” she said, adding people are welcome to come in and use her reference section or just to visit if they are struggling with at home learning.

“I’m not an expert, but together we can probably figure most things out,” she said.

While the “thinker” part of the name is pretty obvious, the “tinker” part may not be quite as clear.

In addition to the educational materials as well as fiction books, Tinker and Thinker is also offering an opportunity for crafters and others to consign their products in the stores.

Bradley said she currently has two consignors, one with educational material and one with honey for sale.

W.T. Johnson also has flyers of his Tastefully Simple products available to browse, she said.

“I’m a big believer in helping out local businesses,” said Bradley, noting small businesses can also leave their business cards and she will be glad to pass along their information if asked.

While she doesn’t have any crafters right now, her first consignors might be two of her children, Michayla, 11, and Connor, 10, both of whom will be doing some crafts to sell.

Michayla noted that while she sometimes uses YouTube videos to help learn how to do a project, other things she figures out on her own. 

As a full-time college student as well as a business owner, Bradley said she doesn’t do any crafting to sell herself, but is hopeful others will take advantage of the opportunity to display and sell their wares.

In addition to Michayla and Connor, Bradley and her husband, Roger, have two other daughters, Alex, who is 21 and married, and Saoirse, two.