Mindy Miller, co-owner of Pigtails ‘n Inkwells, prepares the store Monday morning. The educational supply store, closed it’s St. Joseph location last year, will open Thursday in Wathena, Kansas.

A well-known business dedicated to education is reopening.

Pigtails ‘n Inkwells closed last year in St. Joseph but is now opening at 321 St. Joseph St. in Wathena, Kansas.

“We have so much merchandise left,” said Mindy Miller, co-owner of the store.

The inventory includes learning aids, classroom decorations and student supplies, textbooks and workbooks for every subject and grade. There also are supplies for Girl Scouts and Christian education.

“It’s just plenty of stuff. You just have to come in, dig through and find it,” Miller said. “The teachers really just don’t have any other options unless it’s online. And we want to keep the business local.”

Mary Jane Fields started Pigtails ‘n Inkwells in 1980 while teaching at Missouri Western State University. She employed college women to work at the shop. Fields sold the business to Miller, a local Realtor, and her daughter, Jamie Smith, a teacher at Riverside Unified School District. The pair also owned the Little Red Schoolhouse in Elwood, Kansas.

Miller and Smith are natives of Wathena. In fact, Miller is happy to only live four blocks away from her new shop.

“I want to get back out and be with people,” she said. “I enjoy all the teachers and all the other customers, and I look forward to seeing them.”

Pigtails n’ Inkwells carries everything a teacher might need. While Miller is still getting the new store set up, there are five rooms full of teaching aids.

The Wathena store will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, March 23, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Beginning next week, Miller said she wants to open later in the afternoon to cater to teachers, so the hours will be from 2 to 6 p.m.

For more information, call 816-262-1945.

Jenn Hall can be reached at jenn.hall@newspressnow.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SJNPHall.

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