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The Chalkboard will close after 39 years of business

Online sales run popular education-based business out

All good things must come to an end.

That is the case with The Chalkboard - one of the most popular businesses in Crest Hill, Aurora and Downers Grove.

"I'm going to miss coming to work every day because I've been working here for 35 years," said manager Joann Stockenberg. "I'm going to miss the people, the clientele and I'm going to miss my staff the most because their work ethic is beyond anything I've ever experienced."

All three local locations will be closing, however, a date has yet to be announced.

Ken and Norma Ireland founded The Chalkboard on August 1, 1980, thrived for years, catering to teachers and students.

The couple is still president, secretary and treasurer of the business and said that it is because of online shopping why The Chalkboard will no longer be open.

"It's closing because of Amazon and online sales," Stockenberg said. "People are coming in and scanning our bar codes and they're then looking for the product cheaper elsewhere."

Throughout the years, The Chalkboard has provided products such as school supplies for teachers and children, games, puzzles and other fun services to enhance learning and play.

"The kids, when they come in and see something new as well as the teachers when they see the new themes every year is also something we won't be able to experience that I'm going to deeply miss," Stockenberg said. "I'm going to miss having this business as a home, because it is a home."

The Irelands released a public statement to shoppers who visit The Chalkboard, explaining why they're going out of business.

An emphasis stating how Amazon has been the reason businesses are closing, how the commercial real estate tax in communities is drying up and how Amazon has had an unfair competitive advantage by not being required to collect sales tax which is another reason they are more price competitive were all included in the message.

"Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon, is a brilliant and successful entrepreneur, and even after his widely publicized divorce, he will still enjoy a net worth of over $160 billion," Ireland said in a press release. "He has earned this because he is brilliant, but he is also killing our/your towns."

The Chalkboard customers, for the time being, have been informed that there is now a 50-percent to 70-percent off store-wide sale and "limited stock on hand, all sales final" bargain taking place at the three locations.

"We've just seen the business keep declining here and it's because of the online service," Stockenberg said. "There's been an overwhelming feeling of sadness from our customers - it really hurts a lot."


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