The back-to-school shopping experience has remained largely unchanged for 50 years. The only thing that has changed is the schools supply lists have gotten longer and more expensive. We saw an opportunity to make back-to-school easy for parents, educators, and administrators. All while supporting classrooms with much-needed funds.
According to the National Retail Federation, parents spend an average of $140 per student on school supplies. This doesn’t include tech, clothes, or shoes. Just school supplies. Lists continue to get more lengthy and specific, and spending continues to increase. Parents spend upwards of three hours shopping at multiple stores to get what they need. And for families that can’t afford supplies, teachers are often paying the difference. According to Adopt a Classroom, teachers spend an average of $860 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies for their students each year. Overall, back-to-school shopping is becoming completely unsustainable.
We’re here to change that.
Impacks is a tech-powered business that simplifies back-to-school shopping for parents, teachers, and school administrators. We’re based out of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and we serve schools across the country. We’re rooted in a social-impact methodology, and we focus on making school supplies more accessible for families. We do that in three ways:
Founders Clare and Brandon Richards were inspired to start Impacks after volunteering for a local school supply drive in their community of St. Cloud, Minnesota. It was through this experience that the duo learned of the immense need for classroom support, not only in St. Cloud, but across the country. This lit a fire in their hearts to find a better, more impactful way to support students. And so, Impacks was born. A business that gives back through innovative donation programs designed to create environments of giving within school communities. Ultimate convenience for parents and creative support for classrooms.
Impacks launched in 2020 out of the Richards’ basement, serving just the local school district. It has since grown to serve public, private, and charter schools across the country, and is still headquartered in St. Cloud, MN. In addition to schools, Impacks also works with businesses and nonprofits to positively impact classrooms of every size.
Clare is known for her ability to kickstart initiatives, engage emerging leaders, and lead passionate teams to accomplish ambitious goals. Her work as a community volunteer and advocate has gained her recognition as a St. Cloud 5 Under 40 award and Top Outstanding Young Minnesotan award recipient. Clare serves on the board of directors for the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation and the Central MN Community Foundation. Additionally, she serves as the board of directors chair for a collaborative called Granite Table, and on the advisory council for the University of Minnesota-led Center for Integrative Leadership. In addition to her work with Impacks, Clare is a keynote speaker on a variety of topics. Prior to starting Impacks, Clare spent a decade in the marketing and advertising field. When she isn’t volunteering or working, she can be found binging a nerdy podcast or playing her ukulele.
Brandon spent over a decade in sales, working in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets. His experience started with school supplies and technology through Office Max. Since then, his career has brought him to the water filtration industry, technology industry, and third party logistics industry. All of these experiences have culminated in a deep understanding of how to assess the needs of partners and customers, and how to deliver on those needs at the highest level. When he’s not working on the business, Brandon enjoys coaching E-Sports at Alexandria Technical & Community College, and playing with his golden retriever.