Teachers’ Treasures was founded in 2000 by a Phyllis Imel, a retired school teacher, with a desire to continue helping at-risk children succeed in school.
The “free store for teachers” opened in a small basement of Washington Community School on the near Westside of Indianapolis. A dedicated staff of volunteers began seeking product and financial contributions which could be used to provide teachers with the educational supplies and materials needed by the children in their classrooms. As awareness and interest grew throughout the educational and business communities, so did the need for more room. This need was met by Kroger, who leased a former store at 1800 E. 10th Street to the organization for a nominal fee. In September 2007, Teachers’ Treasures opened a new location almost three times larger than the original space. And, in December 2018, JLI donated $50,000 to allow Teachers’ Treasures to open yet a new location to provide teachers in areas not covered by the other two locations, a facility to conveniently shop for necessary school supplies.