STEMporium Pivots to Mobile Science Experiences
October 1, 2020
For Immediate Release
STEMporium to Close Storefront and Pivot to NEW Mobile Science Experiences
The Great STEMporium, one of the area’s most unique science activity centers, has made the difficult decision to close its physical location at 18388 Coastal Highway in Lewes. In lieu of a physical location, they have decided to pivot the business to offer mobile science events, and they’ll continue providing their unique science projects and experiments through their online store. (https://greatstem.square.site)
After opening their doors in July 2019, just 8 months before COVID, the business was forced to shut down in March for 3 months. During the shutdown, the owners worked hard to plan for a safe re-opening, which included offering curbside pickup, a reservation system with staggered table start times, socially distant seating, separate entrance and exits, hourly cleaning routines, and more. When the State of Delaware reviewed their comprehensive reopening plans, the plan was swiftly approved and the owners were very relieved. However, with the mysterious threat of virus transmission, many families, grandparents, and vacationers simply choose to stay home or limit their activities to the great outdoors. Cari Miller, co-founder of the STEMporium disclosed “Like most businesses in the area, we rely on revenue from the summer season to provide a cash cushion for the first couple of months of the off-season until other activities like birthday parties, scout groups, school field trips, and the holidays start to kick in. We knew the summer was going to be off, but it was really the restrictions on field trips and the ongoing threat of a second wave that made us realize this was going to be a very long and difficult off-season too.”
The business was able to secure some funding from the state and federal small business programs. Unfortunately, they would still need more revenue from customers to be able to cover all the overhead for several months to come. “We are grateful for the funding we did receive. It’s a major factor in our ability to pivot to a mobile services model so we can keep the STEMporium mission alive and weather the storm.”
Miller is quick to acknowledge how thankful they are for all the families that visited, all the birthdays that were celebrated at the STEMporium, the five-star ratings they received, and all the children who left the STEMporium with science embedded a little deeper into their hearts. “Our business model is changing, but our mission remains strong. We wholly believe that, now more than ever, getting kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math at early ages is the key to a very bright future for all humankind.” says Miller. When asked if closing the physical location feels like a failure, Miller was quick to say “no.” She was reminded of the words of the late Ruth Bater Ginsburg, who said “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” To Miller, this isn’t a failure of the concept for her science center or her mission, it’s a step in time that will fervently continue on.
After just 15 short months, the STEMporium will close its physical location this October. Their last day of walk-in table service, complete with microscopes and volcanos, will be Sunday, October 4. The retail store will remain open for a couple of additional weeks with deep discounts on all items. Unused gift cards can be converted to digital cards for future online or mobile service purchases. They also have plans to continue to support local schools by donating some of their equipment and offering a creative, socially distant “discover and donate” solution for parent-teacher organizations around the area. “We are forever committed to bringing STEM education to our community.” Says Miller.
Remaining Hours of Operation
Fri 10/2 - closed
Sat 10/3 - 11am-5pm
Sun 10/3 - 11am-5pm (last day for table service)
Mon 10/4 - closed
Tues - Fri 10/5 - 10/9 - 3pm-6pm - retail sales only
Sat 10/10 - closed (we'll be at Jungle Jim's parking lot)
Sun 10/11 - Noon - 4pm - retail sales only
Mon 10/12 - closed
Tues - Sun - 10/20 - 10/25 - hours TBD
Have a physical gift card with value on it?
Email us the card number on the back, and we will convert it to a digital gift card that can be used for future online purchases and/or to book a science event at your location.