Metro-East News

O’Fallon loses a retail shop; Belleville Kmart closing soon

Parent Teacher Tools going out of business

Owner Karen Kay Williamson gives a brief history of the teacher supply and toy store in Fairview Heights.
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Owner Karen Kay Williamson gives a brief history of the teacher supply and toy store in Fairview Heights.

Time is running out if you want to shop at Belleville’s Kmart.

The store, at 7230 Westfield Plaza, will close in mid-November, the company has confirmed.

In August, Kmart announced plans to close 28 stores by the end of 2017.

Belleville’s Kmart isn’t the first location shut down in the metro-east.

Kmart stores in Granite City and Alton closed in the spring of this year, part of the company’s shuttering of 150 stores.

Kmart stores will remain in Springfield and the following Missouri locations: Florissant, St. Louis and Crystal City.

What will happen after the store closes?

A new 24-hour Walmart Supercenter is planned for a site at the intersection of South 74th Street and Illinois 15, near the Kmart location.

Construction on the 195,000-square-foot store is expected to begin in 2018, and the store might open in 2019.

Local teacher supply and toy store closing

After nearly 30 years in business, Parent Teacher Tools Inc. anticipates closing this year.

The business, located at 2073 W. Highway 50, could continue if someone wants to buy the place, but owner Karen Kay Williamson said it’s time for her to move on to the next chapter of life now that her daughter, Kaylnn, is in college at Washington University.

“I’m sorry that I have to close,” a tearful Williamson said Thursday.

The mother-turned-entrepreneur took over the business in 2001 and expanded its inventory to include more learning materials, toys and games.

The business also carries patches, pins and uniforms for Girls Scouts, and aids for children with special needs.

“It was important for me to give teachers a choice,” Williamson said. “I’m sorry they are not going to have that anymore.”

While more teachers and parents shop online for supplies and educational toys, they don’t have the advantage of trying a product it before purchasing it, Williamson said.

From educational posters and books to seasonal decorations for classrooms and churches, Williamson’s store offers a wide range of supplies.

“I’m really sad,” longtime customer Lucretia Jones said. “Now we don’t what we going to do. ... They were really nice and would get you everything you needed.”

Williamson had hoped the business would continue with a new owner. There’s still time for someone to come forward if they want it, she said.

“We are open until everything is gone,” Williamson said. “We’ve sold a lot of things, but we still have a lot to sell.”

For more information about the store closing, call 618-632-3777.

One more thing

Education starts early. The owner of Parent Teacher Tools, Karen Kay Williamson, recognized that long before her daughter received an acceptance letter to a prestigious university.

Plenty of people agree with the importance of an early start, which is why the Goddard School of Edwardsville is receiving kudos from the community.

Barbara Burrows, owner of The Goddard School, 801 S. Arbor Vitae in Edwardsville, has been awarded the Circle of Excellence Award by Goddard Systems, Inc.

The award acknowledges Goddard School owners for being exceptional in the areas of quality assurance and health and safety.

“Our entire staff works diligently to achieve the highest standards possible,” Burrows said. “The health and safety of the children is of the utmost importance. Our top priority is to provide a safe, nurturing learning environment.”

Do you have a tip? Send me an email at Of course, I’m available to chat on Twitter @CaraRAnthony, and if you really want to go old school, call me on my landline at 618-239-2471.