Name: John Ramps
Family and background: Married with one grown son. Retired welder after 32 years and Desert Storm veteran, having served 16 years in the U.S. Army.
Ramps moved to the area from Ohio 19 years ago.
Occupation: Owner of The Teaching Nook, a educational resource shop
Do you celebrate April Fools’ Day? “Yes I do,” Ramps said. “Because it’s my son’s birthday.”
It was also one of his favorite days, even when he was younger.
“Oh I used to love it.”
He said he liked the “tricking and the jokes,” and remembered a time when his son played a joke on him.
“When he was growing up, we used to play jokes on each other, especially around his birthday.
“We had a snowstorm and I figured I’ll go and build him an igloo … and he got on the balcony and jumped off that thing while I was inside.”
How did you get involved in what you do? “When I was a [paraprofessional] and a custodian, I used to help the kids …”
He also got a glimpse of what teachers go through to provide the best for students.
“A lot of them [teachers] have to go to Savannah … a lot of people can’t afford to go that far. So I thought ‘go ahead and open a store’.”
His wife teaches and he just values education.
“If you can read a book, you can do anything else,” he said.
“When I started reading, the only thing I liked to read was comic books … now I’m into this,” Ramps said, picking up a thick novel. “About a 1,000 pages, probably last a week.”
“That’s what gets kids started reading, if they read something they like.”
So who are you targeting, teachers or students? “It’s half and half, but more for the kids,” Ramps said. “Because what helps the kids, helps the teachers in school.”
He also has materials for daycare providers and church studies.
What do you like most about your job? “Serving the kids,” Ramps said. “Because when they go to school and they find it difficult in some of the subjects…If a child is having trouble, then I should most likely have it [subject-specific teaching aid] for them.”
“I have it stacked. I have it packed well and it’s organized,” Ramps said of his 552 square-foot building. “And they like that.”
What do you least like about your job? “Not having more and more customers,” Ramps said with a laugh.
What sets you apart? Ramps recognized parents often become teachers and that fact expands what he offers in his store.
“A lot of stores like this cater to more teacher-orientated and not kids. My books have to be able to used for teacher and the parent, at the same time, or I don’t buy it.”
He also offers educational games.
“Make it easy and fun, they learn more.”