MINI PENNY: 826 National // The coolest non-profit concept

Saturday, November 2, 2013

826 National // The coolest non-profit concept

So, I'm actually a little bummed that I didn't make this connection earlier. I heard mutterings of pirate supply stores, the museum of unnatural history, and other faux-fronted stores across the US that were actually non-profits focused on helping children learn through tutoring, after school programs, and more. On the flip side, I was considerably familiar with Chicago's The Boring Store which touts itself as being not-a-secret-agent store. And it's adorable.

After looking into The Boring Store, I realized that they're part of a group called 826 National. And I'm seriously blown away with how amazing this concept and execution is. I have some west coast travel coming up in December and I'm definitely going to hit up some other locations.

From 826's website: 826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. [...] To raise funds, inspire creative students, and advertise our programs to the local community, our centers feature a street-front retail store filled with unusual products, student books, and information on the center.

Check out all of this goodness:

Greater Boston Bigfoot Research Institute
Get your search on with a Cyptozoologist's Career Starter Kit, pick up a Yeti Hairball, and get ready to take some blurry photos.

Chicago: The Boring Store
Totally boring, totally NOT a secret agent (wink). Incredible branding that is consistent through their web and store presence. Pick up night vision goggles and a trench coat. No one will suspect a thing.

Washington DC: Museum of Unnatural History
I can't stop laughing at the fact that they sell Wood In a Personal Crisis (the distant cousin of petrified wood). Genius. And a bit unnatural.

LA: Time Travel Mart
Listen. Forget 88mph for a second and get yourself some mammoth chunks. Or better yet, a Robot Toupee. I can't wait to visit this place in a month-ish!

Ann Arbor: Liberty Street Robot Supply and Repair
Two words: Robot. Dreidel.

NYC: Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co.
Another incredible display of graphic design and... capes.

Seattle: Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.
Basically, if you need rocket fuel or astronaut food or an intergalactic peace treaty, this is your spot. Queue the Beastie Boys.

San Francisco: The Pirate Store
And finally, arrrrgh. I think it goes without saying that you can get a peg leg, but did you know that you could also score a kit that can help you escape the belly of a while. Necessary.

Have any of you checked out these stores? What'd you think?

If you're interested in donating to 826 National but aren't near a store location, you can do so through their website here.

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