Reach and Teach’s Grand Re-Opening at New ‘Jewel of a Spot’


Craig Wiesner (left) and Derrick Kikuchi

The unique peace and social justice education store, Reach and Teach, is celebrating its grand re-opening at an all new location in San Mateo starting at 11 a.m., this Saturday, June 22, with live music, games, snacks, door prizes, storytelling, and more.

In addition to the books, toys, educational tools, fair trade products, jewelry, and gift items Reach and Teach sells, the new location at 144 W. 25th Ave. features a travel section with resources for world-changers and anyone wanting to deepen their understanding of other cultures.

Reach And Teach was founded as an online company in 2004, opening  its first brick-and-mortar shop in San Mateoin 2010. Owners Craig Wiesner and Derrick Kikuchi recently moved the store from its former location at 178 South Blvd. to the new storefront  in the heart of the city.

“We’ve learned so much and have become so wonderfully connected to the people of San Mateo that we were thrilled to be able to find a jewel of a spot on 25th Avenue where more people will get to know us and where we’ll be able to expand our offerings of books, fair-trade gifts, toys and games,” Kikuchi said in a press release.

Nominated for the 2012 Sustainable San Mateo Award, Reach And Teach is San Mateo’s only shop dedicated to peacemaking, gender equality, and sustainable living.

“As an independent bookstore, we offer customers a more personalized experience than the big box stores or online retailers. While we have a particular niche focused on making the world a better place, we can also get virtually any book a customer might want, usually within 48 hours,” he said.

Expanding Partnerships and a New Travel Section

Besides being a larger location in a more prominent location, the new store also provides an opportunity to expand and diversify Reach And Teach’s partnerships with organizations working to change the world, according to Wiesner.

“We’re excited to add a travel section to our shop, recognizing that one of the keys to understanding people of different cultures is to step out of our comfort zones and experience life in other places,” said Wiesner. “Our new travel section is curated by Sandy Dhuyvetter, host of the nationally syndicated programs Travel Talk Radio, and Business Travel Radio, and a portion of all sales will benefit Airline Ambassadors, which provides humanitarian aid to children and families in need, as well as relief and development to under-privileged communities worldwide.”

Through its 10/10 Program, other organizations who benefit from sales of products through Reach And Teach include Building for Generations, which builds schools for disabled children in Peru and Africa, Oakland’s Mosaic Project, which creates a peaceful future by working with children today, Limitless Horizons IXIL, which creates opportunities for the indigenous youth, women, and families of Chajul, Guatemala to develop the academic and professional skills needed to effect change in their lives and community, and Youth Community Service, developing leadership opportunities for youth in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

Recycling Provides a Story Behind Everything

Another shop partner is Green11, with a “bring your own container” (BYOC) organic hand, dish, laundry soap, and shampoo refill station.

“Recycling plastic containers is nice, but reusing them over and over and over again is even better for the planet and your pocketbook,” Kikuchi said.

The entire shop is a study in reuse, according to Wiesner. “Our carpeting comes from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore (recycled carpet squares) and most of our furniture and fixtures are recycled or upcycled. Just about everything in our shop, from furnishings to products, has a story behind it and we love to share those stories. One of our most precious mentors taught us a long time ago that the difference between an enemy and a friend, and the shortest distance between two people, is a story, so our shop is all about stories!”

The shop also serves as a community resource with organizations including Cool Cities (San Mateo Sierra Club), the California Writers Club, the Green Party, and Our Family Coalition (GLBTQ Families) meeting and hosting events there.