Tennessee art store gives back to teachers with $20 shopping spree

Store provides employment opportunities to all
Art store
Posted at 1:07 PM, Dec 28, 2021

DONELSON, Tenn. — An art store in Donelson treated local teachers to a shopping spree on Monday.

Smart Art + Craft Supplies charged teachers just $20 to stuff a basket with whatever supplies they could find.

"We do it to give back to teachers," said Kyle Graden, the senior manager of operations at Smart Art. "I mean, teachers year-round are big shoppers at Smart, so if we can use a couple days a year to give back and give exclusively to them to shop, we are happy to do so."

Hopkinsville middle school teacher Karen Graves shops at the store once a month. Like many teachers, the cost of classroom supplies comes out of her own pocket.

"I average probably about $1,500, but then I have spent as much as $5,000 a year as well for kids that don't have anything and we need to help them out," Graves said.

The store already sells art supplies at a reduced price. It also provides work and coaching for adults with intellectual disabilities.

"You know it's mutually beneficial for their classroom and for their students as well as the people we support at Smart, so it's kind of a win-win that way," Graden said.

Seeing Smart's mission in practice is why Graves likes to shop at Smart, even when there isn't a sale.

"That means everything to me. I teach SPED kids as well, and to me, the opportunity that they give these people is just incredible," Graves said.

This story was originally published by Hannah McDonald on Scripps station WTVF in Nashville.