An educator for roughly 20 years, Tracee Fisher has always searched for ways to make her teaching experience more beneficial for her students. A few years ago, Fisher stumbled upon the educational supply store Chalk N More in Fredericksburg. Little did she know that one day she would become the owner.
“We are go-getters,” Fisher says. “Owning the store excites us.
Fisher, a middle and high school English teacher at Marine Corps Base Quantico, had been a regular customer of Chalk N More for years, stocking up often on manipulatives and other activities and supplies for her classroom.
“I always got a kick out of shopping there more than I did shopping for clothes,” Fisher says. “I was always so grateful for it.”
In the spring of 2019, Fisher was browsing Chalk N More on her birthday while waiting for her husband, Roderick, to meet her for lunch when she learned that the store would be closing. Fisher broke the news to her husband that her favorite store was soon going to shut its doors, but Roderick wasn’t having it. The pair came up with an idea to possibly take over the store.
“He comes back later and says ‘Happy Birthday. I just bought you the store,’” Fisher recalls. “I just knew that we couldn’t let it close.”
Neither Tracee nor her husband, who is retired military, had any prior business experience, but that didn’t stop them from signing on as Chalk N More’s new owners.
“We are go-getters,” Fisher says. “Owning the store excites us. It is so rewarding to be an asset to the community and be able to provide educational needs to parents and teachers.”
Chalk N More carries a variety of educational tools for teachers and homeschool parents from workbooks, study guides and manipulatives to bulletin boards and borders for outfitting classrooms. Wipe off workbooks that can be reused are popular as well as the store’s selection of flashcards, games, stickers, posters and writing materials. Shelves are stocked with new inventory every day.
“That one little nugget that you find here can improve a student’s performance exponentially,” Fisher says.
The rise in remote learning due to the covid-19 pandemic has led to more visitors frequenting the store.
“We’ve always seen a lot of homeschoolers, but now we are also seeing more teachers who are looking for items not just for their students but for their own kids as well,” Fisher says. “We are also seeing a lot of grandparents. I think people are realizing that while technology is amazing, it will never replace that interaction of teachers and students.”
People travel from Richmond and as far as North Carolina to shop at Chalk N More. Pre-pandemic, Tracee and Roderick had plans to relocate and expand the store and add a tutoring center, but those plans have been halted for now.
Fisher, who has four children ranging in age from 15 to 29 with her husband, continues to teach at Quantico while maintaining the store. Life is busy but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“My students are my heart,” she says. “This store is my passion. Put them together and it makes the perfect mix.”